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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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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

Volume (Year): 56 (2002)
Issue (Month): 04 (September)
Pages: 751-774

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Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:56:y:2002:i:04:p:751-774_44
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  1. Romer, David, 1993. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 869-903, November.
  2. Herrendorf, Berthold, 1999. "Transparency, reputation, and credibility under floating and pegged exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 31-50, October.
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  5. Cukierman, A. & Miller, G.P. & Neyapti, B., 2000. "Central Bank Reform, Liberalization and Inflation in Transition Economies : An International Perspective," Discussion Paper 2000-106, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Canavan, Chris & Tommasi, Mariano, 1997. "On the credibility of alternative exchange rate regimes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 101-122, October.
  7. Atish R. Ghosh & Anne-Marie Gulde & Jonathan D. Ostry & Holger C. Wolf, 1997. "Does the Nominal Exchange Rate Regime Matter?," NBER Working Papers 5874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Moser, Peter, 1999. "Checks and balances, and the supply of central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1569-1593, August.
  9. 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.
  10. Weingast, Barry R & Moran, Mark J, 1983. "Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 765-800, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 1998. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," CEPR Discussion Papers 1852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
  14. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Policy Credibility Following a Change in Regime," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 211-21, April.
  15. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "Why Does Inflation Differ Across Countries?," NBER Working Papers 5540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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