A Political Agency Theory of Central Bank Independence
We propose a simple theory to explain why, and under what circumstances, a politician delegates policy tasks to a technocrat in an independent institution and then analyze under what conditions delegation is optimal for society. Our theory builds on Holmström's (1982, 1999)"hidden effort" principal-agent model. The election pressures that politicians face, and the absence of such pressures for technocrats, give rise to a dynamic incentive structure that formalizes two rationales for delegation, one highlighted by Hamilton (1788) and the other by Blinder (1998). Delegation trades off the cost of having a possibly incompetent technocrat with a long-term job contract against the benefit of having a technocrat who (i) invests more effort into the specialized policy task and (ii) is better insulated from the whims of public opinion. A natural application of our framework suggests a new theory of central bank independence. Copyright (c) 2010 The Ohio State University.
Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879|
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.:
- Svensson, L.E.O., 1995.
"Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts,"
595, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- 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.
- Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981.
"Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
- Schellekens, Philip, 2002. "Caution and Conservatism in the Making of Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 160-77, February.
- Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 1998.
"Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment,"
Game Theory and Information
- Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990.
"Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
- Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999.
"The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
- Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
- Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Fischer, Stanley, 1995. "Central-Bank Independence Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 201-06, May.
- Lippi, Francesco, 1998. " On Central Bank Independence and the Stability of Policy Targets," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 495-512, June.
- 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 529-42, March.
- 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 1139-53, December.
- Ben Lockwood & Eric Le Borgne, 2003. "Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Experimentation vs. Career Concerns," IMF Working Papers 03/57, International Monetary Fund.
- Alesina, Alberto & Gatti, Roberta, 1995. "Independent Central Banks: Low Inflation at No Cost?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 196-200, May.
- Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "State-Contingent Inflation Contracts and Unemployment Persistence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 286-99, August.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:42:y:2010:i:4:p:647-677. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.