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Visibility and Credibility in the Political Economy of Reform

  • Chris Canavan

    (Boston College)

  • Mariano Tommasi

    (UCLA and Universidad de San Andres)

We investigate the interplay between government credibility and the visibility of policy-making, using the choice of a nominal anchor as an important example of how governments control visibility. We show that visibility has an important influence on how governments acquire credibility, and for this reason is a variable that governments use strategically. Policy-makers with stronger commitment to reform opt for more visible policies (e.g., an exchange-rate anchor) whereas policy-makers who cannot carry through with serious reform opt for noisier signals (e.g., a money anchor). Our logic is that greater visibility makes it easier for the public to learn the government's preferences, and only policy- makers committed to reform want this to happen. Among other things, our analysis provides a rationale for the prevalence of temporary exchange-rate targets in inflation-stabilization programs.

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File URL: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp346.pdf
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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 346..

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:346
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Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/Email:


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  1. Rudiger Dornbusch & Mario Henrique Simonsen, 1987. "Inflation Stabilization with Incomes Policy Support: A Review of the Experience in Argentina, Brazil and Israel," NBER Working Papers 2153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter Montiel & Bijan B. Aghevli & Mohsin S. Khan, 1991. "Exchange Rate Policy in Developing Countries; Some Analytical Issues," IMF Occasional Papers 78, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Carlos A. Végh Gramont, 1991. "Stopping High Inflation; An Analytical Overview," IMF Working Papers 91/107, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "The ends of four big inflations," Working Papers 158, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Paul R. Masson & Morris Goldstein & Jacob A. Frenkel, 1991. "Characteristics of a Successful Exchange Rate System," IMF Occasional Papers 82, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Do the benefits of fixed exchange rates outweigh their costs? The Franc Zone in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 777, The World Bank.
  7. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carlos A. Végh, 1994. "Inflation Stabilization And Nominal Anchors," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 35-45, 04.
  8. 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.
  9. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1991. "The Advantage of Tying One's Hands: EMS Discipline and Central Bank Credibility," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 303-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-55, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Aaron Tornell & Andres Velasco, 1995. "Money-Based versus Exchange Rate-Based Stabilization with Endogenous Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 5300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Agenor, Pierre-Richard, 1994. "Credibility and exchange rate management in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-16, October.
  14. Carlos A. Végh, 1992. "Stopping High Inflation: An Analytical Overview," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(3), pages 626-695, September.
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