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Inflation and Central Bank Independence: Is Japan Really an Outlier?


  • Walsh, Carl-E

    (U CA, Santa Cruz)


The Bank of Japan has often been viewed as an outlier in combining low inflation with little formal central bank independence. This view has been based mainly on simple correlations between average inflation and measures of central bank independence. When additional factors that might account for cross-country variation in inflation rates are incorporated into the empirical analysis, Japan no longer appears to be a significant outlier. Since reputational considerations may have played a role in supporting a low-inflation environment in Japan, a simple model is used to show how increased political competition might affect equilibrium inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Walsh, Carl-E, 1997. "Inflation and Central Bank Independence: Is Japan Really an Outlier?," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 15(1), pages 89-117, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ime:imemes:v:15:y:1997:i:1:p:89-117

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Froyen, Richard T. & Waud, Roger N., 1995. "Central bank independence and the output-inflation tradeoff," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 137-149, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Cukierman, Alex & Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Summers, Lawrence H. & Webb, Steven B., 1993. "Central bank independence, growth, investment, and real rates," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 95-140, December.
    4. 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 151-162, May.
    5. Eijffinger, Sylvester & van Rooij, Maarten & Schaling, Eric, 1996. "Central Bank Independence: A Paneldata Approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 163-182, October.
    6. Andreas Fischer, 1996. "Central bank independence and sacrifice ratios," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 5-18, January.
    7. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berlemann, Michael & Hielscher, Kai, 2011. "A Time-varying Indicator of Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism," Working Paper 112/2011, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    2. Jordahl, Henrik & Laseen, Stefan, 2005. "Central bank conservatism and labor market regulation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 345-363, June.
    3. Michael Berlemann & Kai Hielscher, 2016. "Measuring Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism of Central Banks: A Dynamic Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 17(1), pages 105-132, May.
    4. repec:eee:ecmode:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:215-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Haan, Jakob de & Kooi, Willem J., 2000. "Does central bank independence really matter?: New evidence for developing countries using a new indicator," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 643-664, April.
    6. Alpanda, Sami & Honig, Adam, 2010. "Political monetary cycles and a de facto ranking of central bank independence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1003-1023, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation


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