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

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  • 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. al-Nowaihi, Ali & Levine, Paul, 1998. "Can political monetary cycles be avoided?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 525-545, October.
  2. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-11, May.
  3. 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.
  4. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and inflation: theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "Why Does Inflation Differ Across Countries?," NBER Working Papers 5540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2005. "Independence Before Conservatism: Transparency, Politics and Central Bank Design," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, 02.
  9. 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.
  10. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Hoeberichts, M.M., 1996. "The Trade Off Between Central Bank Independence and Conservativeness," Discussion Paper 1996-44, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Viegi, Nicola, 2004. "An independent central bank faced with elected governments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 907-922, November.
  12. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  13. Alessandro Missale & Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1991. "The Debt Burden and Debt Maturity," NBER Working Papers 3944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:fth:tilbur:99108 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Beetsma, Roel & Bovenberg, A Lans, 1999. "Inflation Targets and Debt Accumulation in a Monetary Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 2324, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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