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A Political Agency Theory of Central Bank Independence

  • Gauti B. Eggertsson
  • Eric Le Borgne

We propose a theory to explain why, and under what circumstances, a politician gives up rent and delegates policy tasks to an independent agency. We apply this theory to monetary policy by extending a standard dynamic "New-Keynesian" stochastic general equilibrium model. This model gives a new theory of central bank independence that is unrelated to the standard inflation bias problem. We derive several new predictions and show that they are consistent with the data. Finally, we show that while instrument independence of the central bank is desirable, goal independence is not.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/144.

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Length: 44
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/144
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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 1249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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.
  5. Lippi, Francesco, 1998. " On Central Bank Independence and the Stability of Policy Targets," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 495-512, June.
  6. Schellekens, Philip, 2002. "Caution and Conservatism in the Making of Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 160-77, February.
  7. 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.
  8. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  9. Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 1997. "Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 333, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. Ben Lockwood & Eric Le Borgne, 2003. "Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Experimentation vs. Career Concerns," IMF Working Papers 03/57, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "State-Contingent Inflation Contracts and Unemployment Persistence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 286-99, August.
  14. 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.
  15. Fischer, Stanley, 1995. "Central-Bank Independence Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 201-06, May.
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