IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/pubcho/v116y2003i3-4p271-95.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Central Banker Contracts, Incomplete Information, and Monetary Policy Surprises: In Search of a Selfish Central Banker?

Author

Listed:
  • Chortareas, Georgios E
  • Miller, Stephen M

Abstract

Approaching monetary policy as a principal-agent problem provides a useful framework for interpreting alternative delegation schemes. In this paper, we consider the effectiveness of central banker incentive schemes when the principal delegates monetary policy through contracts but remains uncertain about the central banker's responsiveness to such schemes. We adopt a simple principal-agent model and assume that the central banker's trade-off between social welfare and the incentive scheme is private information. We consider two types of central bankers; one who responds to the incentive scheme ("selfish") and one who does not and only cares about social welfare ("benevolent"). We demonstrate that when a benevolent central banker accepts a contract designed for a selfish central banker, positive inflation surprises occur and output exceeds its natural rate. We further show that a benevolent central banker with an inflation bias has an incentive to masquerade as selfish. Mechanisms exist that solve that problem by achieving preference revelation. We consider a simple mechanism in dominant strategies that induces the benevolent type either not to breach or not to accept the appointment (contract) in the first place. This multi-period mechanism works with either inflation targets, or the appointment of a conservative central banker. Our results suggest that more complicated incentive schemes, embedded within broader constitutional arrangements, are required in the presence of private information for them to work effectively. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Chortareas, Georgios E & Miller, Stephen M, 2003. "Central Banker Contracts, Incomplete Information, and Monetary Policy Surprises: In Search of a Selfish Central Banker?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 271-295, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:116:y:2003:i:3-4:p:271-95
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://journals.kluweronline.com/issn/0048-5829/contents
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 1998. "Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 384-403, August.
    3. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 675-708, August.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-211, May.
    6. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    7. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-538, June.
    8. Clive Briault & Andrew Haldane & Mervyn A. King, 1997. "Independence and Accountability," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Iwao Kuroda (ed.), Towards More Effective Monetary Policy, chapter 10, pages 299-340, Palgrave Macmillan.
    9. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-286, March.
    10. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
    11. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-1070, December.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
    15. Charles Nolan & Eric Schaling, 1996. "Monetary Policy Uncertainty and Central Bank Accountability," Bank of England working papers 54, Bank of England.
    16. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    17. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2003. "Monetary Policy Delegation, Contract Costs and Contract Targets," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 101-112, January.
    18. Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, Jurgen & Waller, Christopher J, 1997. "Central Banking as a Political Principal-Agent Problem," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 378-393, April.
    19. Cukierman, Alex & Liviatan, Nissan, 1991. "Optimal accommodation by strong policymakers under incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 99-127, February.
    20. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
    21. Christopher J. Waller, 1995. "Performance contracts for central bankers," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-14.
    22. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, December.
    23. 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.
    24. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Seonghwan Oh, 1990. "Strategic discipline in monetary policy with private information: optimal targeting periods," Working Papers 1990-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    25. Drew Fudenberg & Eric Maskin, 2008. "The Folk Theorem In Repeated Games With Discounting Or With Incomplete Information," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine (ed.), A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 11, pages 209-230, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    26. Herrendorf, Berthold & Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "Rogoff's "Conservative" Central Banker Restored," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 476-495, November.
    27. 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.
    28. Carl E. Walsh, 2002. "When should central bankers be fired?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, March.
    29. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    30. 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 1139-1153, December.
    31. Buchanan, James M, 1987. "The Constitution of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 243-250, June.
    32. Muscatelli, Anton, 1998. "Optimal Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences: Accountability through Independence?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 529-542, March.
    33. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-455, November.
    34. 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.
    35. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-920, December.
    36. Lawler, Phillip, 2000. "Centralised Wage Setting, Inflation Contracts, and the Optimal Choice of Central Banker," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 559-575, April.
    37. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    38. Jensen, Henrik, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy cooperation through state-independent contracts with targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 517-539, March.
    39. Eric Schaling & Marco Hoeberichts & Sylvester Eijffinger, 1998. "Incentive schemes for central bankers under uncertainty: inflation targets versus contracts," Bank of England working papers 88, Bank of England.
    40. Marco Lossani & Piergiovanna Natale & Patrizio Tirelli, 1998. "Incomplete Information in Monetary Policy Games: Rules Rather Than a Conservative Central Banker," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 33-47, February.
    41. Avinash Dixit, 1996. "Special-Interest Lobbying and Endogenous Commodity Taxation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 375-388, Fall.
    42. Jonsson, Gunnar, 1997. "Monetary politics and unemployment persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 303-325, July.
    43. Muscatelli, V Anton, 1999. "Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets under Uncertainty: Why We Might Need Conservative Central Bankers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 241-254, May.
    44. Levy, Philip I., 1999. "Lobbying and international cooperation in tariff setting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 345-370, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Dai, Meixing & Spyromitros, Eleftherios, 2012. "Inflation contract, central bank transparency and model uncertainty," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2371-2381.
    2. Masciandaro, Donato, 2022. "Independence, conservatism, and beyond: Monetary policy, central bank governance and central banker preferences (1981–2021)," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    3. Marine Charlotte André & Meixing Dai, 2017. "Can inflation contract discipline central bankers when agents are learning?," Working Papers of BETA 2017-25, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Enrico Marchetti, 2012. "Optimal linear contracts under common agency and uncertain central bank preferences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 263-282, January.
    5. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Enrico Marchetti, 2008. "Linear Contracts, Common Agency and Central Bank Preference Uncertainty," Working Papers in Public Economics 115, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law.
    6. 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.
    7. Georgios Chortareas & David Stasavage & Gabriel Sterne, 2003. "Does monetary policy transparency reduce disinflation costs?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 521-540, September.
    8. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2006. "The Walsh Contracts for Central Bankers Are Optimal After All!," Working papers 2006-14, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482, Elsevier.
    2. Georgios Chortareas & Stephen Miller, 2004. "Optimal Central Banker Contracts and Common Agency," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 131-155, October.
    3. Berthold Herrendorf & Manfred J.M. Neumann, 2003. "The Political Economy of Inflation, Labour Market Distortions and Central Bank Independence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 43-64, January.
    4. Muscatelli, V Anton, 1998. "Political Consensus, Uncertain Preferences, and Central Bank Independence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 412-430, July.
    5. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 1998. "Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 384-403, August.
    6. Francesco Salsano, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Presence Of Imperfect Observability Of The Objectives Of Central Bankers," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0523, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    7. Francesca Castellani & Xavier Debrun, 2005. "Designing Macroeconomic Frameworks: A Positive Analysis of Monetary and Fiscal Delegation," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 87-117, March.
    8. Masciandaro, Donato, 2022. "Independence, conservatism, and beyond: Monetary policy, central bank governance and central banker preferences (1981–2021)," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    9. Walsh, Carl E, 2003. "Accountability, Transparency, and Inflation Targeting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 829-849, October.
    10. Gartner, Manfred, 2000. "Political Macroeconomics: A Survey of Recent Developments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 527-561, December.
    11. Carl E. Walsh, 2002. "When should central bankers be fired?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, March.
    12. Hayo, Bernd & Hefeker, Carsten, 2002. "Reconsidering central bank independence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 653-674, November.
    13. Ms. Francesca Castellani & Mr. Xavier Debrun, 2001. "Central Bank Independence and the Design of Fiscal Institutions," IMF Working Papers 2001/205, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Mihov, Ilian & Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Credibility and Flexibility with Independent Monetary Policy Committees," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 23-46, February.
    15. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2019. "Behavioral Monetary Policymaking: Economics, Political Economy and Psychology," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Behavioral Finance The Coming of Age, chapter 9, pages 285-329, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    16. Sibert, Anne & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "Credibility and Flexibility with Monetary Policy Committees," CEPR Discussion Papers 3278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Weymark, Diana N., 2007. "Inflation, government transfers, and optimal central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 297-315, February.
    18. Rotondi, Zeno, 2000. "Credibility of optimal monetary delegation: do we really need prohibitive reappointment costs?," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0003, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    19. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    20. D. Masciandaro, 2019. "What Bird Is That? Central Banking And Monetary Policy In The Last Forty Years," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 19127, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:116:y:2003:i:3-4:p:271-95. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.