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Crucial issues concerning central bank independence

  • McCallum, Bennett T.

This paper argues, first, that it is inappropriate to presume that central banks will, in the absence of any tangible precommitment technology, inevitably behave in a `discretionary' fashion that implies an inflationary bias. Furthermore, there is no necessary tradeoff between `flexibility and commitment.' Second, to the extent that the absence of any precommitment technology is nevertheless a problem, it will apply to a consolidated central bank-plus-government entity as well as to the central bank alone. Thus contracts between governments and central banks do not overcome the motivation for dynamic inconsistency, they merely relocate it. Several implications are discussed.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 99-112

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:39:y:1997:i:1:p:99-112
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 1988. "Time consistency and policy," Staff Report 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. 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.).
  3. McCallum, Bennett T, 1980. "Rational Expectations and Macroeconomic Stabilization Policy: An Overview," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 716-46, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  6. 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.
  7. McCallum, Bennett T., 1990. "Inflation: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 18, pages 963-1012 Elsevier.
  8. Svensson, Lars E O, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 1249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  10. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Rules and Discretion with Noncoordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 619-30, October.
  12. Robert P. Flood & Peter Isard, 1989. "Monetary Policy Strategies," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(3), pages 612-632, September.
  13. Bennett T. McCallum, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  16. Prescott, Edward C., 1977. "Should control theory be used for economic stabilization?: A rejoinder," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 101-102, January.
  17. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
  18. 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.
  19. Robert P. Flood & Peter Isard, 1988. "Monetary Policy Strategies," NBER Working Papers 2770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  21. Prescott, Edward C., 1977. "Should control theory be used for economic stabilization?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 13-38, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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