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Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences

Within a standard model of monetary delegation we show that the optimal linear inflation contract performs strictly better than the optimal inflation target when there is uncertainty about the central banker’s preferences. The optimal combination of a contract and a target performs best, and eliminates the inflation bias and any variability not associated with supply shocks. Variability due to shocks is enhanced by uncertain central banker preferences however, which suggests the need for alternative incentive mechanisms. Quadratic contracts are shown to partly overcome the problem. Still, the advantages of delegation may be dominated by the ‘excess variability’ due to shocks.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1562.

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Date of creation: Jan 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1562
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  1. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-38, June.
  2. Carl E. Walsh, 1994. "Is New Zealand's Reserve Bank Act of 1989 an optimal central bank contract?," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 94-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. 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.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Gatti, Roberta, 1995. "Independent Central Banks: Low Inflation at No Cost?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 196-200, May.
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  9. Waller, Christopher J & Walsh, Carl E, 1996. "Central-Bank Independence, Economic Behavior, and Optimal Term Lengths," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1139-53, December.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  13. Stanley Fischer, 1995. "Modern Approaches to Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 5064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lossani, Marco & Natale, Piergiovanna & Tirelli, Patrizio, 1998. "Incomplete Information in Monetary Policy Games: Rules Rather Than a Conservative Central Banker," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 33-47, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  17. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
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