IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inflation Target Instability and Interest Rates


  • Mellin, Stefan

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)


The implementation of explicit quantitative inflation targets elucidates the assessment of credibility of future monetary policy. Here the explicit inflation target is time-varying and stochastic with asymmetric information. It is shown that central bank independence promotes lower inflation but not at the cost of increased output variability. Marked political instability and instrument dependence are detrimental to credibility, and impede monetary policy with unchanged long term nominal interest rates. The marginal effect from less independence on interest rate volatility is increasing in political instability. Strategic delegation of an optimal inflation target with a monetary reform eliminates the inflation bias. Empirical evidence substantiates the predictions when confronted with cross-country OECD data.

Suggested Citation

  • Mellin, Stefan, 1998. "Inflation Target Instability and Interest Rates," Research Papers in Economics 1997:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:1997_0004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," NBER Working Papers 5719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
    5. Svensson, L.E.O., 1993. "Monetary Policy with Flexible Exchange Rates and Foreward Interest Rates as Indicators," Papers 559, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    6. Cukierman, Alex & Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Summers, Lawrence H. & Webb, Steven B., 1993. "Central bank independence, growth, investment, and real rates," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 95-140, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 663-688.
    9. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B, 1995. "Political Influence on the Central Bank: International Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(3), pages 397-423, September.
    10. 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.
    11. Ben Bernanke & Frederic Mishkin, 1992. "Central Bank Behavior and the Strategy of Monetary Policy: Observations from Six Industrialized Countries," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 183-238 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-211, May.
    13. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1994. "The term structure spread and future changes in long and short rates in the G7 countries: Is there a puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-283, April.
    14. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    15. Lockwood, Ben & Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 1998. "Designing Monetary Policy When Unemployment Persists," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(259), pages 327-345, August.
    16. Roubini, Nouriel & Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Scholarly Articles 4553025, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    17. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-555, June.
    21. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    inflation target; credibility; political instability; independence;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:1997_0004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sten Nyberg). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.