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Explicit inflation targets and central bank independence: friends or foes?

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  • Andrew Hallett
  • Jan Libich

Abstract

The paper studies the relationship between two institutional innovations in monetary policy of the past few decades: central bank independence (CBI) and explicit inflation targeting (EIT). The aim is to make inferences about the optimal institutional design of monetary policy, and the right sequencing of policy reform. Our reduced-form model unifies several approaches in the literature, and offers three novel institutional findings (that we square with existing empirical evidence). First, instrument-CBI is a complement to EIT, whereas goal-CBI acts as a strategic substitute for EIT in ensuring low inflation and policy credibility. Second, out of these two ‘commitment technologies,’ EIT is shown to be socially superior to goal-CBI. Third and controversially, countries that first implement goal-CBI are then less likely to adopt the desirable EIT regime. This is because independent central bankers may have less need to do so (their independence partly substitutes for EIT), as well as less willingness to do so (due to a higher degree of accountability associated with a transparently legislated target). Our analysis therefore implies that developing and emerging market countries should go down the New Zealand route—legislate EIT together with instrument-CBI, but stay clear of goal-CBI. Unfortunately, many transition countries have followed the opposite Fed/Bundesbank route, which we show may have adverse welfare consequences through several channels. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ecopln:v:45:y:2012:i:4:p:271-297
    DOI: 10.1007/s10644-011-9118-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jan Libich & Petr Stehlík, 2011. "Welfare Improving Coordination of Fiscal and Monetary Policy," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 5(1), pages 007-026, March.
    2. Dinabandhu Sethi & Debashis Acharya, 2019. "Credibility of inflation targeting: some recent Asian evidence," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 203-219, August.
    3. Athina Zervoyianni & Athanasios Anastasiou & Andreas Anastasiou, 2014. "Does central bank independence really matter? Re-assessing the role of the independence of monetary policy-makers in macroeconomic outcomes," International Journal of Economics and Business Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(4), pages 427-473.
    4. Jan Libich & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Petr Stehlik, 2007. "Monetary And Fiscal Policy Interaction With Various Degrees And Types Of Commitment," CAMA Working Papers 2007-21, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Meixing Dai & Eleftherios Spyromitros, 2010. "Accountability And Transparency About Central Bank Preferences For Model Robustness," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(2), pages 212-237, May.
    6. Dai, Meixing & Sidiropoulos, Moïse, 2011. "Monetary and fiscal policy interactions with central bank transparency and public investment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 195-208, September.
    7. Marco Hoeberichts & Mewael F. Tesfaselassie & Sylvester Eijffinger, 2009. "Central bank communication and output stabilization," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 395-411, April.
    8. Libich, Jan, 2008. "An explicit inflation target as a commitment device," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 43-68, March.
    9. Mohammad Abdul Munim Joarder & A. K. M. Nurul Hossain & Monir Uddin Ahmed, 2016. "Does the central bank contribute to the political monetary cycles in Bangladesh?," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 365-394, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutional reform; Transition economies; Explicit inflation targeting; Central bank independence; Transparency; Accountability; Credibility; Monitoring; Reputation; E52; E61; C72;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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