IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The advantage of tying one's hands : EMS discipline and Central Bank credibility

  • Giavazzi, Francesco
  • Pagano, Marco

It is often argued that the EMS is an effective disciplinary device for inflation-prone countries in the EEC, since it forces policy-makers in these countries to pursue more restrictive monetary policies than they would otherwise. It is not clear, however, why these countries should submit themselves to such discipline. This paper argues that in order to answer this question appropriately, one must consider that EMS membership brings potentially large credibility gains to policy-makers in high-inflation countries: the reason is that not only it attaches an extra penalty to inflation (in terms of competitiveness losses), but makes the public aware that the policy-maker is faced with such penalty, and thus helps to overcome the inefficiency stemming from the public's mistrust for the authorities. We study the conditions under which these credibility gains are larger than the penalties that the policy-maker incurs in equilibrium. When policy-makers attach no value to inflationary finance, we find that they will always prefer EMS membership. When the policy-maker needs revenue from the inflation tax, however this conclusion is not always true. The opposite contention, that EMS membership is an inferior regime for any government that needs inflationary finance is also generally incorrect. The outcome of the welfare comparison depends (i) on the value placed by the policy-maker on seigniorage relative to the discounted output cost of inflation, and (ii) on the tightness of EMS discipline, as measured by the time interval between realignments and by the portion of lost competitiveness that the country is not allowed to recover at realignments.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 32 (1988)
Issue (Month): 5 (June)
Pages: 1055-1075

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:32:y:1988:i:5:p:1055-1075
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:32:y:1988:i:5:p:1055-1075. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.