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

Central Bank Independence and Transparency: Evolution and Effectiveness

  • Christopher Crowe
  • Ellen E. Meade

While central banks have existed since the seventeenth century, their purpose, functions, and operations have evolved over time. Over the past two decades, the pace of reforms in terms of institutional independence and transparency has been particularly brisk. This paper examines the current level of central bank independence (CBI) and transparency in a broad sample of countries using newly constructed measures, and looks at the evolution in both measures from an earlier time period. The legal independence of central banks (measured using an index first constructed by Cukierman, Webb, and Neyapti, 1992) has increased markedly since the 1980s, particularly for emerging market and developing countries, while the rise in transparency since the late 1990s (measured using an index based upon the work of Eijffinger and Geraats, 2006) has been less impressive. Increases in CBI have tended to occur in more democratic countries and in countries with high levels of past inflation. More independent central banks in turn tend to be more transparent, while transparency is also positively correlated with measures of national institutional quality. Exploiting the time dimension of our data to eliminate country fixed effects and using instrumental variable estimation to overcome endogeneity concerns, we present robust evidence that greater CBI is associated with lower inflation. We also find that enhanced transparency practices are associated with the private sector making greater use of information provided by the central bank, consistent with a simple signal extraction model in which the public signal becomes more precise as our transparency measure increases.

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:
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007-20.

in new window

Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2007
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Geraats, P., 2006. "How transparent are central banks?," Other publications TiSEM b34dfb1f-520f-4787-a08f-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Haan, Jakob de, 2001. "Inflation in developing countries: does Central Bank independence matter?," CCSO Working Papers 200101, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  3. Eijffinger, S-C-W & de Haan, J, 1996. "The Political Economy of Central-Bank Independence," Princeton Studies in International Economics 19, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  4. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-97, May.
  5. Jean-François Segalotto & Marco Arnone & Bernard J Laurens, 2006. "Measures of Central Bank Autonomy; Empirical Evidence for OECD, Developing, and Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 06/228, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin & Hui Tong, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 453-455, March.
  7. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alex Cukierman & Stefan Gerlach, 2003. "The inflation bias revisited: theory and some international evidence," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 541-565, 09.
  9. Berger, Helge & de Haan, Jakob & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W, 2001. " Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 3-40, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Petra Geraats, 2005. "Transparency of Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice," CESifo Working Paper Series 1597, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. EllenE. Meade & David Stasavage, 2008. "Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 695-717, 04.
  13. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  14. Cukierman, A. & Miller, G.P. & Neyapti, B., 2000. "Central Bank Rerform, Liberalization and Inflation in Transition Economies - an International Perspective," Papers 00-19, Tel Aviv.
  15. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  16. Andrea Bubula & Inci Ötker, 2002. "The Evolution of Exchange Rate Regimes Since 1990; Evidence From De Facto Policies," IMF Working Papers 02/155, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Guy Debelle & Stanley Fischer, 1994. "How independent should a central bank be?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 38, pages 195-225.
  18. Hayo, Bernd, 1998. "Inflation culture, central bank independence and price stability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 241-263, May.
  19. Christopher W. Crowe, 2006. "Goal-Independent Central Banks; Why Politicians Decide to Delegate," IMF Working Papers 06/256, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Willem H. Buiter, 1999. "Alice in Euroland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20226, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  21. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sørensen, 2004. "The Strategy of Professional Forecasting," FRU Working Papers 2004/05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Finance Research Unit.
  22. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Comment: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 448-452, March.
  23. Job Swank & Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2008. "How Committees of Experts Interact with the Outside World: Some Theory, and Evidence from the FOMC," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 478-486, 04-05.
  24. Crowe, Christopher, 2010. "Testing the transparency benefits of inflation targeting: Evidence from private sector forecasts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 226-232, March.
  25. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2007. "Social value of public information: testing the limits to transparency," Working Paper Series 0821, European Central Bank.
  26. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  27. Luis Ignacio Jácome & Francisco F. Vazquez, 2005. "Any Link Between Legal Central Bank Independence and Inflation? Evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 05/75, International Monetary Fund.
  28. 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 151-62, May.
  29. Christopher Crowe & Ellen E. Meade, 2007. "The Evolution of Central Bank Governance around the World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 69-90, Fall.
  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. repec:dgr:rugccs:200101 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  33. Alex Cukierman & Steven Webb, 1995. "Political Influence on the Central Bank- International Evidence," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 114, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Fischer, Stanley, 1995. "Central-Bank Independence Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 201-06, May.
  37. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2004. "Is the MPC's Voting Record Informative about Future UK Monetary Policy?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 299-313, 06.
  38. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Johnson, David R., 2002. "The effect of inflation targeting on the behavior of expected inflation: evidence from an 11 country panel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1521-1538, November.
  40. 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, 09.
  41. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
  42. N. Nergiz Dincer & Barry Eichengreen, 2007. "Central Bank Transparency: Where, Why, and with What Effects?," NBER Working Papers 13003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:amu:wpaper:2007. 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: (Thomas Meal)

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.