IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article

An explicit inflation target as a commitment device

  • Libich, Jan

This paper shows an avenue through which a numerical long-run inflation target ensures low inflation and high credibility; one that is independent of the usual Walsh incentive contract. Our novel game theoretic framework - a generalization of alternating move games - formalizes the fact that since the target is explicit (legislated), it cannot be frequently reconsidered. This 'explicitness' therefore serves as a commitment device. There are two key results. First, it is shown that if the inflation target is sufficiently rigid/explicit relative to the public's wages, low inflation is time consistent and hence credible even if the policymaker's output target is above potential. Second, it is found that the central banker's optimal explicitness level is decreasing in the degree of his patience/independence (due to their substitutability in achieving credibility). Our analysis therefore offers an explanation for the 'inflation and credibility convergence' over the past two decades as well as the fact that inflation targets were legislated primarily by countries that had lacked central bank independence like New Zealand, Canada, and the UK rather than the US, Germany, or Switzerland. We show that there exists fair empirical support for all the predictions of our analysis.

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: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164-0704(07)00058-4
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 Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 43-68

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:30:y:2008:i:1:p:43-68
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Schaling, E. & Hoeberichts, M.M., 1997. "Central Bank independence : A sensitivity analysis," Discussion Paper 1997-10, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-13, May.
  5. Jan Libich, 2006. "Inflexibility Of Inflation Targeting Revisited: Modeling The "Anchoring"Effect," CAMA Working Papers 2006-02, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  6. David Backus & John Driffill, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Policy Credibility Following a Change in Regime," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 211-221.
  7. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 575, Boston College Department of Economics.
  8. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Geraats, P., 2006. "How transparent are central banks?," Other publications TiSEM b34dfb1f-520f-4787-a08f-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  9. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  10. Giovanni Olivei & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Timing of Monetary Policy Shocks," CEP Discussion Papers dp0725, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Laurence Ball & Niamh Sheridan, 2004. "Does inflation targeting matter?," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 118, Netherlands Central Bank.
  12. Guy Debelle, 1998. "Inflation Targeting in Practice," Occasional Papers, South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre, number occ23.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  15. Matthew B. Canzoneri, 1983. "Monetary policy games and the role of private information," International Finance Discussion Papers 249, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Marvin Goodfriend, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in the United States?," NBER Working Papers 9981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Vittorio Corbo & Oscar Landerretche & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2001. "Assessing Inflation Targeting after a Decade of World Experience," Working Papers 51, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  18. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Eric Le Borgne, 2010. "A Political Agency Theory of Central Bank Independence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(4), pages 647-677, 06.
  19. 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.
  20. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Waller, Christopher J & Walsh, Carl E, 1996. "Central-Bank Independence, Economic Behavior, and Optimal Term Lengths," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1139-53, December.
  22. V. Bhaskar, 1998. "On Endogenously Staggered Prices," Macroeconomics 9809007, EconWPA.
  23. Frederic S. Mishkin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2001. "One decade of inflation targeting in the world : What do we know and what do we need to know?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 101, Central Bank of Chile.
  24. Roger Lagunoff & Akihiko Matsui, 1997. "Asynchronous Choice in Repeated Coordination Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1467-1478, November.
  25. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  26. Markus Hyvonen, 2004. "Inflation Convergence Across Countries," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2004-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  27. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Libich, Jan, 2006. "Central Bank Independence, Accountability and Transparency: Complements or Strategic Substitutes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5470, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Blinder, Alan S, 1997. "Is There a Core of Practical Macroeconomics That We Should All Believe?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 240-43, May.
  29. Georgios Chortareas & David Stasavage & Gabriel Sterne, 2001. "Does it pay to be transparent? International evidence from central bank forecasts," Bank of England working papers 143, Bank of England.
  30. Carl E. Walsh, 1994. "Is New Zealand's Reserve Bank Act of 1989 an optimal central bank contract?," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 94-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  31. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-rationality and inflation in two monetary regimes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  32. Barton L. Lipman & Ruqu Wang, 1997. "Switching Costs in Frequently Repeated Games," Discussion Papers 1190, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  33. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Why the Federal Reserve Should Adopt Inflation Targeting," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 117-127, 03.
  34. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  35. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  36. repec:pri:cepsud:120willard is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  38. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  39. J. De Haan & F. Amtenbrink & S.C.W. Eijffinger, 1999. "Accountability of central banks: aspects and quantification," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 52(209), pages 169-193.
  40. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  41. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  42. 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.
  43. Bennett T. McCallum, 1996. "Crucial Issues Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. 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.
  45. Jan Libich & Petr Stehlik, 2007. "Incorporating Rigidity In The Timing Structure Of Macroeconomic Games," CAMA Working Papers 2007-10, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  46. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2004. "Why the Federal Reserve Should Not Adopt Inflation Targeting," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 129-136, 03.
  47. In-Koo Cho & Akihiko Matsui, 2005. "Time Consistency In Alternating-Move Policy Games," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 273-294.
  48. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jan Libich, 2007. "Fiscal-monetary Interactions: The Effect of Fiscal Restraint and Public Monitoring on Central Bank Credibility," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 559-576, November.
  49. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, I: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 549-69, May.
  50. Andrew Hallett & Jan Libich, 2012. "Explicit inflation targets and central bank independence: friends or foes?," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 271-297, November.
  51. 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.
  52. Thomas Y. Wu, 2004. "Does Inflation Targeting Reduce Inflation? An Analysis for the OECD Industrial Countries," Working Papers Series 83, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:jmacro:v:30:y:2008:i:1:p:43-68. 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.