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Incentive schemes for central bankers under uncertainty: inflation targets versus contracts

  • Eric Schaling
  • Marco Hoeberichts
  • Sylvester Eijffinger

The implications of uncertain policy preferences for the targeting and contracting approaches to monetary policy are investigated. It is shown that, in the presence of uncertain preferences, a linear incentive contract in the sense of Walsh performs better than an explicit inflation target as proposed by Svensson. The reason is that an inflation target produces a higher variance of inflation. It is also shown that itis optimal to offer a linear inflation contract that does not depend on the degree of preference uncertainty.

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File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/workingpapers/1998/wp88.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 88.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:88
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  1. Bennett T. McCallum, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brunner, Allan D & Hess, Gregory D, 1993. "Are Higher Levels of Inflation Less Predictable? A State-Dependent Conditional Heteroscedasticity Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(2), pages 187-97, April.
  3. Herrendorf, Berthold & Lockwood, Ben, 1996. "Rogoff's 'Conservative' Central Banker Restored," CEPR Discussion Papers 1386, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  6. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Jensen, H., 1996. "Inflation targets and contracts with uncertain central banker preferences," Discussion Paper 1996-93, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  8. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1990. "Inflation and Uncertainty at Long and Short Horizons," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 215-254.
  9. Cukierman, Alex & Wachtel, Paul, 1979. "Differential Inflationary Expectations and the Variability of the Rate of Inflation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 595-609, September.
  10. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  11. 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,.
  12. 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.
  13. Davis, George & Kanago, Bryce, 1998. "High and Uncertain Inflation: Results from a New Data Set," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 218-30, May.
  14. Charles Nolan & Eric Schaling, 1996. "Monetary Policy Uncertainty and Central Bank Accountability," Bank of England working papers 54, Bank of England.
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