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"Rules Rather Than Discretion" After Twenty Five Years: What Have We Learned? What More Can We Learn?

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  • Peter N. Ireland

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

Kydland and Prescott first identified the inflationary bias that results when a central bank does not precommit to a monetary policy rule. Subsequent work, published over the past twenty five years, demonstrates that this inflationary bias can be minimized by appointing central bankers whose preferences or incentives differ systematically from those of society as a whole. Subsequent work also shows that central bankers may optimally choose to maintain their reputations as inflation fighters. The literature to date, however, says remarkably little about how central bankers establish their reputations, or build credibility for their policies, in the first place.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter N. Ireland, 2002. ""Rules Rather Than Discretion" After Twenty Five Years: What Have We Learned? What More Can We Learn?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 530, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:530
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-211, May.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Ireland, Peter N., 2000. "Expectations, Credibility, And Time-Consistent Monetary Policy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 448-466, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Alan S. Blinder, 1997. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: What Central Bankers Could Learn from Academics--And Vice Versa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 3-19, Spring.
    9. Taylor, John B, 1982. "Establishing Credibility: A Rational Expectations Viewpoint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 81-85, May.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:cup:macdyn:v:4:y:2000:i:4:p:448-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Ireland, Peter N., 1997. "Sustainable monetary policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 87-108, November.
    13. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    14. 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 473-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Volckart, Oliver, 2008. "‘The big problem of the petty coins’, and how it could be solved in the late Middle Ages," Economic History Working Papers 22310, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Oliver Volckart, 2007. "Rules, Discretion or Reputation? Monetary Policies and the Efficiency of Financial Markets in Germany, 14th to 16th Centuries," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-007, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    3. repec:ine:journl:v:40:y:2015:i:49:p:158-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bogdan Andrei DUMITRESCU, 2015. "The Coordination of the Monetary and Fiscal Policies in Romania and their Impact on the Economic Cycle," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 40(1(49)), pages 184-197, june.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Time-consistency; Inflation; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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