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Inflation Targeting and the Role of Real Objectives

  • Carl Walsh

In this paper, I focus on two aspects of central banking – flexibility and transparency – that have been affected by monetary policy debates over the past twenty years. Because criticism of inflation targeting, at least in the United States, often focuses on the claim that an inflation targeting central bank may ignore real economic fluctuations, I direct my comments to the role real objectives play in the design of optimal monetary policy. That is, I focus on how flexible the central bank should be. I argue that, while the recent trend in the academic literature to view central bank objectives as derived from the welfare of the representative agent can be insightful, this perspective is not the only one for thinking about the goals assigned to the central bank. There are reasons why the objectives of a central bank should, potentially, deviate from social welfare, and I will focus on two such reasons; one related to imperfect monitoring and accountability, the other arising from asymmetric information.

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Paper provided by Czech National Bank, Research Department in its series Research and Policy Notes with number 2007/02.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cnb:rpnrpn:2007/02
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  1. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2001. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy under Asymmetric Information," NBER Working Papers 8255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  3. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  4. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Geraats, P.M., 2004. "How Transparent Are Central Banks?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0411, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Romain Baeriswyl & Camille Cornand, 2006. "Monetary policy and its informative value," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24521, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian & Rose, Andrew K, 2004. "Quantitative Goals for Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4445, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rochelle M. Edge & Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2007. "Welfare-maximizing monetary policy under parameter uncertainty," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Jensen, Henrik, 2002. " Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(3), pages 399-422, September.
  9. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2006. "Ramsey Meets Hosios: The Optimal Capital Tax and Labor Market Efficiency," 2006 Meeting Papers 568, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. John C. Williams & Andrew T. Levin, 2003. "Parameter Uncertainty and the Central Bank's Objective Function," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 215, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "The conquest of U.S. inflation: learning and robustness to model uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0478, European Central Bank.
  12. Richard Dennis, 2003. "New Keynesian optimal-policy models: an empirical assessment," Working Paper Series 2003-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Svensson, Lars & Faust, Jon, 1999. "The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy," Seminar Papers 669, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  14. Carl Walsh, 2003. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 265-278, March.
  15. Vittorio Corbo & Óscar Landerretche & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2002. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.), Inflation Targeting: Desing, Performance, Challenges, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 5, pages 221-270 Central Bank of Chile.
  16. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams & Tao Zha, 2004. "Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation," NBER Working Papers 10764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. James Costain & Michael Reiter, 2005. "Stabilization versus Insurance: Welfare Effects of Procyclical Taxation Under Incomplete Markets," 2005 Meeting Papers 704, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Geraats, P.M., 2004. "Transparency and Reputation: The Publication of Central Bank Forecasts," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0473, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  20. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  21. James Costain and Michael Reiter, 2001. "Stabilization versus Insurance," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 161, Society for Computational Economics.
  22. Bernard Laurens & Marco Arnone & Jean-François Segalotto, 2006. "The Measurement of Central Bank Autonomy; Survey of Models, Indicators, and Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/227, International Monetary Fund.
  23. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  24. Vega, Marco & Winkelried, Diego, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Inflation Behavior: A Successful Story?," MPRA Paper 838, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  25. Federico Ravenna & Carl E. Walsh, 2007. "Vacancies, Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve," Kiel Working Papers 1362, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  26. Cukierman, Alex, 2008. "Central bank independence and monetary policymaking institutions -- Past, present and future," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 722-736, December.
  27. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  28. Alex Cukierman, 2007. "The limits of transparency," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  29. Camille Cornand & Frank Heinemann, 2004. "Optimal Degree of Public Information Dissemination," CESifo Working Paper Series 1353, CESifo Group Munich.
  30. Walsh, Carl E, 1999. "Announcements, Inflation Targeting and Central Bank Incentives," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 255-69, May.
  31. Refet S Gürkaynak & Andrew Levin & Eric Swanson, 2010. "Does Inflation Targeting Anchor Long-Run Inflation Expectations? Evidence from the U.S., UK, and Sweden," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1208-1242, December.
  32. 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.
  33. Walsh, Carl E., 2005. "Endogenous objectives and the evaluation of targeting rules for monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 889-911, July.
  34. 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.
  35. Jean-François Segalotto & Marco Arnone & Bernard Laurens, 2006. "Measures of Central Bank Autonomy; Empirical Evidence for OECD, Developing, and Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 06/228, International Monetary Fund.
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