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Does a Higher Sacrifice Ratio Mean that Central Bank Independence is Excessive?

  • Alex Cukierman

    ()

    (Tel-Aviv University and Center, Tilburg University)

Recent empirical studies show that sacrifice ratios calculated during periods of inflation stabilization are usually higher in countries with higher levels of central bank independence (CBI). This led some economists to conclude that CBI does not produce a credibility bonus implying, at least implicitly, that CBI may be undesirable. Using a simple model in which higher CBI is positively associated with the probability that preannounced inflation targets will be delivered, this paper shows that welfare is higher when CBI is higher, refuting this view. This result holds independently of the sign of the association between sacrifice ratios and CBI. The paper also points out that both Lucas¡¯, as well as Neo - Keynesian theories of the Phillips curve imply that countries with more independent central banks should have higher sacrifice ratios. Potential biases in empirical measures of sacrifice ratios are discussed as well.

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Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 1-25

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2002:v:3:i:1:p:1-25
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  1. Posen, Adam, 1998. "Central Bank Independence and Disinflationary Credibility: A Missing Link?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 335-59, July.
  2. Guy Debelle & Stanley Fischer, 1994. "How independent should a central bank be?," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Guzzo, Vincenzo & Velasco, Andres, 1999. "The case for a populist Central Banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1317-1344, June.
  5. Cukierman, A. & Lippi, F., 1998. "Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment - Theory and Some Evidence," Discussion Paper 1998-116, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  7. Cukierman Alex, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, And Independance: Theory And Evidence," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 10, December.
  8. Antulio N. Bomfim & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1997. "Opportunistic and deliberate disinflation under imperfect credibility," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 97-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Andreas Fischer, 1996. "Central bank independence and sacrifice ratios," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 5-18, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  12. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daniel L. Thornton, 1996. "The costs and benefits of price stability: an assessment of Howitt's rule," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 23-38.
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