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Checks and Balances, Private Information, and the Credibility of Monetary Commitments


  • Keefer, Philip
  • Stasavage, David


In this article, we argue that the effectiveness of central bank independence and exchange-rate pegs in solving credibility problems is contingent on two factors: political institutions and information asymmetries. However, the impact of these two factors differs. We argue that the presence of one institution—multiple political veto players—should be crucial for the effectiveness of central bank independence, but should have no impact on the efficacy of exchange-rate pegs. In contrast, exchange-rate pegs should have a greater anti-inflationary impact when it is difficult for the public to distinguish between inflation generated by policy choice and inflation resulting from exogenous shocks to the economy. Such information asymmetries between the public and the government, however, do not increase the efficacy of central bank independence. Empirical tests using newly developed data on political institutions provide strong support for our hypotheses.

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  • Keefer, Philip & Stasavage, David, 2002. "Checks and Balances, Private Information, and the Credibility of Monetary Commitments," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(04), pages 751-774, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:56:y:2002:i:04:p:751-774_44

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Belke, Ansgar & Freytag, Andreas & Keil, Jonas & Schneider, Friedrich, 2014. "The credibility of monetary policy announcements: Empirical evidence for OECD countries since the 1960s," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 217-227.
    2. Thomas D. Willett, 2001. "The Political Economy of External Discipline: Constraint Versus Incentive Effects of Capital Mobility and Exchange Rate Pegs," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-29, Claremont Colleges.
    3. Andreas Freytag & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "Monetary Commitment, Institutional Constraints and Inflation: Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries since the 1970s," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-002, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Hossain, Monzur, 2009. "Institutional development and the choice of exchange rate regime: A cross-country analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 56-70, March.
    5. Michael Koetter & Kasper Roszbach & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2014. "Financial Stability and Central Bank Governance," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(4), pages 31-68, December.
    6. Masciandaro, Donato & Volpicella, Alessio, 2016. "Macro prudential governance and central banks: Facts and drivers," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 101-119.
    7. Leonid Polishchuk & Georgiy Syunyaev, 2015. "Ruling elites’ rotation and asset ownership: implications for property rights," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 159-182, January.
    8. Young, Andrew T. & Lawson, Robert A., 2014. "Capitalism and labor shares: A cross-country panel study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 20-36.
    9. Yannick LUCOTTE, 2010. "The Choice of Adopting Inflation Targeting in Emerging Economies: Do Domestic Institutions Matter?," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 1561, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    10. Mammadov, Fuad, 2014. "Central Bank Credibility and Black Market Exchange Rate Premia: A Panel Time Series Analysis," MPRA Paper 65572, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Alesina, Alberto & Stella, Andrea, 2010. "The Politics of Monetary Policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1001-1054 Elsevier.
    12. repec:zbw:rwirep:0355 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Dreher, Axel & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Haan, Jakob de, 2010. "When is a central bank governor replaced? Evidence based on a new data set," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 766-781, September.
    14. Cristina Bodea, 2013. "Independent central banks, regime type, and fiscal performance: the case of post-communist countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(1), pages 81-107, April.
    15. Weymouth Stephen, 2013. "Firm lobbying and influence in developing countries: a multilevel approach," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(4), pages 1-26, January.
    16. Young, Andrew T. & Sheehan, Kathleen M., 2014. "Foreign aid, institutional quality, and growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 195-208.
    17. Dalla Pellegrina, L. & Masciandaro, D. & Pansini, R.V., 2013. "The central banker as prudential supervisor: Does independence matter?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 415-427.
    18. Guisinger, Alexandra & Singer, David Andrew, 2010. "Exchange Rate Proclamations and Inflation-Fighting Credibility," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 313-337, April.
    19. Lucia Dalla Pellegrina & Donato Masciandaro & Rosaria Vega Pansini, 2011. "New Advantages of Tying One’s Hands: Banking Supervision, Monetary Policy and Central Bank Independence," Chapters,in: Handbook of Central Banking, Financial Regulation and Supervision, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Christian Fahrholz, 2003. "Strategic Exchange-Rate Policy of Accession Countries in ERM II," Eastward Enlargement of the Euro-zone Working Papers wp14, Free University Berlin, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, revised 01 Apr 2003.
    21. Down Ian, 2009. "Central Bank Independence, Disinflations and Monetary Policy," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(3), pages 1-22, January.
    22. Herrera, Veronica & Post, Alison E., 2014. "Can Developing Countries Both Decentralize and Depoliticize Urban Water Services? Evaluating the Legacy of the 1990s Reform Wave," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 621-641.
    23. Ansgar Belke & Andreas Freytag & Jonas Keil & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "The Credibility of Monetary Policy Announcements – Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries since the 1960s," Ruhr Economic Papers 0355, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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