IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

When Does Policy Reform Work? The Case of Central Bank Independence

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Simon Johnson
  • Pablo Querubin
  • James A. Robinson

We argue that the question of whether and when policy reform works should be investigated together with the political economy factors responsible for distortionary policies in the first place. These not only determine the initial distortions, but also often shape policy in the post-reform environment. Distortionary policies are more likely to be adopted when politicians are unconstrained and unaccountable to citizens. This reasoning implies that policy reform should have modest effects in societies where the political system already places constraints on politicians. It also implies, however, that in societies with weak political constraints, which are often those adopting the most distortionary policies, policy reforms may be ineffective because the underlying political economy problems are not typically altered by these reforms. Policy reform should therefore have its largest effect in societies with intermediate levels of constraints. In addition, when policy reform is (partly) effective, it may lead to a deterioration in other (unreformed) components of policy in order to satisfy the underlying demands on politicians - a phenomenon we call the seesaw effect. We provide reduced-form evidence consistent with these ideas by looking at the effect of central bank independence on inflation. The evidence is consistent with the notion that central bank reforms have reduced inflation in societies with intermediate constraints and have had no or little effects in countries with the high and low levels of constraints. We also present some evidence suggesting that, consistent with the seesaw effect, in countries where central bank reforms reduce inflation, government expenditure tends to increase.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14033.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14033.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & Pablo Querubin & James A. Robinson, 2008. "When Does POlicy Reform Work? The Case of Central Bank Independence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 351-429.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14033
Note: ME POL
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  2. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "On the Curvature of the Reporting Function from Objective Reality to Subjective Feelings," IZA Discussion Papers 3344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2002. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 8963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2006. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," NBER Working Papers 12324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mukand, Sharun W. & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation and Economic Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 3525, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
  8. Mangano, Gabriel, 1998. "Measuring Central Bank Independence: A Tale of Subjectivity and of Its Consequences," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 468-92, July.
  9. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  10. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 4200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
  12. Andrew Leigh & Justin Wolfers, 2005. "Happiness and the Human Development Index: Australia is Not a Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers 505, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  13. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  14. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
  15. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  16. Christopher Crowe & Ellen E. Meade, 2007. "The Evolution of Central Bank Governance around the World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 69-90, Fall.
  17. Dani Rodrick, 2003. "Growth Strategies," Economics working papers 2003-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  18. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," Development and Comp Systems 0210003, EconWPA.
  19. Burnside, Craig & Dollar, David, 1997. "Aid, policies, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1777, The World Bank.
  20. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  21. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  22. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "A Simple Model of Inefficient Institutions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 515-546, December.
  23. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  24. Torsten Sl¯k, 2002. "Money Demand in Mongolia: A Panel Data Analysis," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(1), pages 7.
  25. Colin Camerer & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. "Neuroeconomics: How neuroscience can inform economics," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000484, UCLA Department of Economics.
  26. George Stigler, 1972. "Economic competition and political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 91-106, September.
  27. W. J. Henisz, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Economic Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 1-31, 03.
  28. Haroon Mumtaz & Paolo Surico, 2012. "Evolving International Inflation Dynamics: World And Country-Specific Factors," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 716-734, 08.
  29. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  30. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  31. Forder, James, 1998. "The case for an independent European central bank: A reassessment of evidence and sources," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 53-71, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14033. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.