IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Optimal Central Banker Contracts and Common Agency

  • Georgios Chortareas


  • Stephen Miller


This paper considers the contracting approach to centralbanking in a simple common agency model. We suggest thatcentral banker contracts that do not consider the possibilityof more than one principal existing are incomplete contracts.Such incomplete contracts can be a poor form ofmonetary policy delegation under common agency. We develop amodel with two principals – society (government) and ageneric interest group, whose objective conflicts withsociety’s ex ante preferences by incorporating an inflationarybias. We determine when the government-offered orinterest-group-offered contract dominates the central banker’sdecision. The results largely depend on whether theinterest-group-offered contract is written in terms of outputor inflation. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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:
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 under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 121 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 131-155

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:121:y:2004:i:1:p:131-155
DOI: 10.1007/s11127-004-6159-9
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

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. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  2. Eichengreen, B, 1996. "A More Perfect Union? The Logic of Economic Integration," Princeton Essays in International Economics 198, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, Jürgen & Waller, Christopher, 1993. "Central Banking as a Political Principal-Agent Problem," CEPR Discussion Papers 752, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
  7. Ahmed, Habib & Miller, Stephen M., 1997. "Monetary and exchange rate policy in multisectoral economies," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 321-334.
  8. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Seonghwan Oh, 1990. "Strategic Discipline in Monetary Policy With Private Information: Optimal Targeting Periods," UCLA Economics Working Papers 584, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Levy, Philip I., 1999. "Lobbying and international cooperation in tariff setting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 345-370, April.
  10. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  11. 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.).
  12. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Scholarly Articles 3450062, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Christopher J. Waller, 1995. "Performance contracts for central bankers," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-14.
  14. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Spiller, Pablo T, 1990. "Politicians, Interest Groups, and Regulators: A Multiple-Principals Agency Theory of Regulation, or "Let Them Be Bribed."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 65-101, April.
  16. Persson, Torsten, 1998. "Economic Policy and Special Interest Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 310-27, March.
  17. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
  18. Mathias Dewatripont & Francesco Giavazzi & Jürgen von Hagen & Ian Harden & Didier Baudewyns & Gérard Roland & Howard Rosenthal & André Sapir & Guido Tabellini, 1995. "Flexible integration: towards a more effective and democratic Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9541, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Scholarly Articles 3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-11, May.
  21. Adam S. Posen, 1995. "Declarations Are Not Enough: Financial Sector Sources of Central Bank Independence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 253-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Avinash Dixit & Henrik Jensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Contracts for the Central Bank of a Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 400, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-20, December.
  24. Robert J. Gordon, 1976. "The Demand for and Supply of Inflation," Discussion Papers 201, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  25. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
  26. 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.
  27. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Nolan, Charles & Yates, Anthony, 1997. "Mechanisms for Achieving Monetary Stability: Inflation Targeting versus the ERM," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 46-60, February.
  28. C. Randall Henning, 1994. "Currencies and Politics in the United States, Germany, and Japan," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 15, January.
  29. Waller, Christopher J, 1992. "The Choice of a Conservative Central Banker in a Multisector Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1006-12, September.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Common Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 923-42, July.
  33. Avinash Dixit, 1996. "Special-Interest Lobbying and Endogenous Commodity Taxation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 375-388, Fall.
  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.
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:kap:pubcho:v:121:y:2004:i:1:p:131-155. 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: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Rebekah McClure)

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.