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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. Guy Debelle & Stanley Fischer, 1994. "How independent should a central bank be?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 38, pages 195-225.
  2. Bomfim, Antulio N & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 2000. "Opportunistic and Deliberate Disinflation under Imperfect Credibility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 707-21, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Central bank independence, centralization of wage bargaining, inflation and unemployment:: Theory and some evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1395-1434, June.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Adam Posen, 1995. "Central bank independence and disinflationary credibility: a missing link?," Staff Reports 1, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. 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.
  11. Andreas Fischer, 1996. "Central bank independence and sacrifice ratios," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 5-18, January.
  12. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  13. Guzzo, Vincenzo & Velasco, Andres, 1999. "The case for a populist Central Banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1317-1344, June.
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