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Do we really need to tame a conservative ECB? When the policy mix matters

  • Marco Lossani

    (Catholic University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Piergiovanna Natale


    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Patrizio Tirelli


    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

This paper contributes to the goal-versus-instrument independence debate for the ECB exploring how these alternative monetary arrangements perform when the fiscal authority pursues a strategy of debt reduction in the long term but retains fiscal flexibility in response to supply shocks. If fiscal policy is sufficiently flexible, appointing a goal independent (i.e. conservative) central banker dominates inflation targeting. In fact, as the fiscal authority and the central bank act independently in setting their countercyclical policies, an activist central banker causes excess volatility of inflation. This result provides theoretical content to the claim that a strong and goal-independent ECB needs a political match able to engineer countercyclical fiscal policies.

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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 18.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Oct 1997
Date of revision: Nov 1998
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:18
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  1. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  2. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Lans Bovenberg, A., 1998. "Monetary union without fiscal coordination may discipline policymakers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 239-258, August.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Inflation and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  6. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sorensen, B-E & Yosha, O, 1996. "International Risk Sharing and European Monetary Unification," Papers 40-96, Tel Aviv.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Monetary Cohabitation in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1380, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
  10. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Bovenberg, A. Lans, 1997. "Central bank independence and public debt policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(4-5), pages 873-894, May.
  11. Patrizio Tirelli, 1997. "Dynamic Seigniorage Models Revisited. Should Fiscal Flexibility and Conservative Central Bankers Go Together?," Working Papers 19, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 1999.
  12. De Grauwe, Paul, 1996. "Inflation Targeting to Achieve Inflation Convergence in the Transition Towards EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 1457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
  14. Jensen, Henrik, 1994. "Loss of monetary discretion in a simple dynamic policy game," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 763-779.
  15. 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.
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