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Central Bank Independence and Accountability Under Complete Information

  • Francesca Castellani



This paper investigates the accountability of the independent monetary authority in the case of strategic interaction between the delegating authority (government) and the agent (central bank) in the policy game with complete information. As the unelected monetary authority is not the by-product of society's preferences, delegation turns out to be socially costly. Two main results emerge from the model. First, a monetary stance biased towards price stability makes the optimal fiscal strategy time-inconsistent, destroys the credibility of the mandate to deliver the socially optimum inflation rate and prevents the monetary authority from being held accountable for achieving it. Hence, delegation results ill-designed to make the monetary authority both independent and accountable. To this end, specific policy coordination mechanisms may have to be imposed on the fiscal authority to complement the delegation mechanism. Second, in the case where the government can precommit on fiscal strategies, no fiscal arrangement is ineeded and strict inflation targeting allows the central bank to be accountable.

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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 05-2001.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp05-2001
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  1. Henrik Jensen, . "Optimal Degrees of Tranaparency in Monetary Policymaking," EPRU Working Paper Series 01-01, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
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  4. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Hoeberichts, Marco & Schaling, Eric, 2000. "A Theory of Central Bank Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 2354, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Cukierman, A., 2000. "Accountability, Credibility, Transparency and Stabilization Policy in the Eurosystem," Papers 2000-4, Tel Aviv.
  6. Levine, Paul & Pearlman, Joseph, 2001. "Monetary Union: The Ins and Outs of Strategic Delegation," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(3), pages 285-309, June.
  7. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:100:y:1985:i:4:p:1169-89 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Castrén, Olli, 1999. "Accountability of the ECB and a Government's Incentives to Rebel against the Common Monetary Policy in EMU," Research Discussion Papers 2/1999, Bank of Finland.
  9. Marco Catenaro & Patrizio Tirelli, 1999. "Reconsidering The Pros and Cons of Fiscal Policy Coordination in a Monetary Union: Should We Set Public Expenditure Targets?," Working Papers 30, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2000.
  10. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-11, May.
  11. Agell, Jonas & Calmfors, Lars & Jonsson, Gunnar, 1996. "Fiscal policy when monetary policy is tied to the mast," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1413-1440, August.
  12. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1997. "Designing fiscal and monetary institutions in a second best world," Other publications TiSEM 9cf95e79-e382-4268-8e4d-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. 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.
  14. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Rules and Discretion with Noncoordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 619-30, October.
  15. Dornbusch, Rudi, 1997. "Fiscal Aspects of Monetary Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 221-23, May.
  16. 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 473-91, June.
  17. Cukierman, Alex, 1994. "Central Bank Independence and Monetary Control," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1437-48, November.
  18. 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.
  19. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  20. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2001. "Monetary-fiscal policy interactions and commitment versus discretion in a monetary union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 977-987, May.
  21. Xavier Debrun, 2000. "Fiscal Rules in a Monetary Union: A Short-Run Analysis," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 323-358, October.
  22. 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 151-62, May.
  23. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," NBER Working Papers 1794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Wyplosz, Charles, 1991. "Monetary Union and Fiscal Policy Discipline," CEPR Discussion Papers 488, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Muscatelli, Anton, 1998. "Optimal Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences: Accountability through Independence?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 529-42, March.
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