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Central Bank Independence and the `Free Lunch Puzzle': A New Perspective

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Author Info

  • Ali al-Nowaihi

    (University of Leicester)

  • Paul Levine

    (University of Surrey)

  • Alex Mandilaras

    (University of Surrey)

Abstract

A new perspective is provided on a puzzle that has emerged from the empirical lit- erature suggesting that government-independent central banks provide a `free lunch': lower in°ation is apparently achieved at no cost in terms of greater output variance. We assess the various explanations provided by the theoretical literature. After revis- iting the free lunch puzzle and con¯rming the empirical importance of open-economy effects, we develop a Rogoff-style delegation model that combines the latter with po- litical monetary cycle e®ects. We show that if all countries delegate monetary policy to government independent banks, as economies become more integrated then a low inflation, higher output variance trade-off re-emerges.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Surrey in its series School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 0806.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0806

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Keywords: central bank independence; open economy; political uncertainty;

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References

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  1. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  2. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  3. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-11, May.
  4. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 1999. "An Independent Central Bank Faced With Elected Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2002. "Independence Before Conservatism: Transparency, Politics, and Central Bank Design," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0202, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  6. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1999. "Inflation Targets and Debt Accumulation in a Monetary Union," Discussion Paper 1999-108, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Romer, David, 1993. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 869-903, November.
  8. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1997. "Why Does Inflation Differ across Countries?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 335-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  10. Ali al-Nowaihi & Paul Levine, . "Can Political Monetary Cycles be Avoided?," Discussion Papers in European Economics 97/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  11. Willem H. Buiter, 2005. "New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C1-C31, 03.
  12. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Hoeberichts, M.M., 1998. "The trade off between central bank independence and conservativeness," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-76576, Tilburg University.
  13. Mandilaras, Alexandros & Levine, Paul, 2001. "Public Debt and Inflation: The Role of Inflation-Sensitive Instruments," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(0), pages 1-21, Supplemen.
  14. Alessandro Missale & Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1991. "The Debt Burden and Debt Maturity," NBER Working Papers 3944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Currie, David & Levine, Paul & Pearlman, Joseph, 1996. "The Choice of 'Conservative' Bankers in Open Economies: Monetary Regime Options for Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 345-58, March.
  16. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  17. Beetsma, Roel & Bovenberg, A Lans, 2003. "Political Shocks, Public Debt and the Design of Monetary and Fiscal Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3753, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. repec:fth:tilbur:99108 is not listed on IDEAS
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