Optimal Commitment in an Open Economy: Credibility vs. Flexibility
The theoretical argument for central bank independence is based on the idea that even if the government represents people's preferences over inflation and output it has an incentive to renege from prearranged plans to gain a short run boost to output. This incentive leads to higher than desired inflation. One solution to this credibility problem is to give control of monetary policy to an independent central bank that is more averse to inflation than society. Central bank independence thus reduces society's credibility problem but this may be at the expense of less flexible countercyclical monetary policy. The aim of this paper is to find the correct balance between credibility and flexibility, ie the optimal degree of central bank independence. The first part of the paper sets out an open economy model and identifies some macroeconomic factors that influence the optimal degree of independence. It finds that the optimal degree of independence increases when; 1) the NAIRU is higher, 2) the benefits of unanticipated inflation are greater, 3) society is less inflation-averse, 4) productivity shocks have smaller variance, 5) the real exchange rate has less variability, 6) the economy is less open. The second part of the paper estimates the relationship between these six factors and measures of central bank independence for 19 industrial countries using a latent variables estimation technique. It finds that, in general, the actual degree of independence is related to these six factors and so the institutional arrangements in most countries are close to the optimum. The main exceptions are Germany and Switzerland - that seem to have an excessively high degree of independence - and Australia, Norway, Sweden and the UK - which have a lower than optimal degree of independence.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1995|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH|
Phone: +44 (0)171 601 4030
Fax: +44 (0)171 601 5196
Web page: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- 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.
- Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-286, March.
- Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983.
"A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
- Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Manfred Neumann, 1991. "Precommitment by central bank independence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 95-112, June.
- Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
- Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345.
- Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
- S. Eijffinger & M. Van Keulen, 1995. "Central bank independence in another eleven countries," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 48(192), pages 39-81.
- S. Eijffinger & M. Van Keulen, 1995. "Central bank independence in another eleven countries," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 48(192), pages 39-81.
- Eijffinger, S. & van Keulen, M., 1994. "Central Bank Independence in Another Eleven Countries," Papers 9494, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
- Eijffinger, S.C.W. & van Keulen, M., 1994. "Central bank independence in another eleven countries," Discussion Paper 1994-94, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Eijffinger, S.C.W. & van Keulen, M., 1995. "Central bank independence in another eleven countries," Other publications TiSEM 32e466b5-7f2a-4856-881a-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Eijffinger, S.C.W., 1993. "Central bank independence in twelve industrial countries," Other publications TiSEM 0401b17a-e2c7-4179-ace9-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Gray, Jo Anna, 1976. "Wage indexation: A macroeconomic approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 221-235, April.
- Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, July.
- Cukierman Alex, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, And Independance: Theory And Evidence," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-10, December.
- David Romer, 1993. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 869-903.
- David Romer, 1991. "Openness and inflation: theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
- David Romer, 1991. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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 151-162, May.
- Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Schaling, E., 1993. "Central bank independence : Theory and evidence (Revised version)," Discussion Paper 1993-25, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:41. 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: (Digital Media Team)
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.