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Does Central Bank Independence Matter in Arab Oil Exporters

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  • Hoda Selim

    () (International Monetary Fund)

Abstract

The paper shows that central banks in Arab oil exporters are not independent. Low independence reflects institutional arrangements that allow the executive branch to influence, interfere and in some cases, dominate over central bank operations. The paper argues that in a context of weak institutions, CBI has not always mattered for macroeconomic policy outcomes in Arab oil exporters. GCC central banks delivered a better macroeconomic policy performance than those of the populous group. CBI mattered less for the GCC because the credible peg discouraged discretion and was a good substitute for it. Soft peg arrangements in the populous economies in a context of weak institutions and discretionary policymaking in the absence of a de facto independent central bank led to disappointing monetary policy outcomes. As oil exporters adapt to a new normal of low oil prices, the sustainability of fixed exchange regimes may not be guaranteed without sound macroeconomic institutions. Stronger institutions and effective accountability mechanisms are needed to insulate central banks from political pressures. In the short-term, a rules-based framework could help.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoda Selim, 2018. "Does Central Bank Independence Matter in Arab Oil Exporters," Working Papers 1223, Economic Research Forum, revised 18 Sep 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-398, September.
    3. Shantayanan Devarajan & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Do the Benefits of Fixed Exchange Rates Outweigh Their Costs? The Franc Zone in Africa," NBER Working Papers 3727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Inflation, Central Bank Independence, and the Legal System," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(4), pages 751-777, December.
    5. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, March.
    6. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1997. "Why Does Inflation Differ across Countries?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 335-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. 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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