Is New Zealand's Reserve Bank Act of 1989 an optimal central bank contract?
This paper evaluates the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act of 1989 from a principal-agent perspective, arguing that the act represents a dismissal rule. The optimal dismissal rule requires that the central banker be dismissed whenever inflation exceeds a critical level that depends on aggregate supply disturbances and measurement error in the inflation index. This is essentially the structure established by the act. The scope for renegotiating the target rate, however, creates an incentive for the government to set the critical rate too high. Consequently, the inflation bias of discretion is reduced but not completely eliminated. Copyright 1995 by Ohio State University Press.
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