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Opting Out of the Great Inflation: German Monetary Policy After the Break Down of Bretton Woods

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  • Andreas Beyer
  • Vitor Gaspar
  • Christina Gerberding
  • Otmar Issing

Abstract

During the turbulent 1970s and 1980s the Bundesbank established an outstanding reputation in the world of central banking. Germany achieved a high degree of domestic stability and provided safe haven for investors in times of turmoil in the international financial system. Eventually the Bundesbank provided the role model for the European Central Bank. Hence, we examine an episode of lasting importance in European monetary history. The purpose of this paper is to highlight how the Bundesbank monetary policy strategy contributed to this success. We analyze the strategy as it was conceived, communicated and refined by the Bundesbank itself. We propose a theoretical framework (following Söderström, 2005) where monetary targeting is interpreted, first and foremost, as a commitment device. In our setting, a monetary target helps anchoring inflation and inflation expectations. We derive an interest rate rule and show empirically that it approximates the way the Bundesbank conducted monetary policy over the period 1975-1998. We compare the Bundesbank's monetary policy rule with those of the FED and of the Bank of England. We find that the Bundesbank's policy reaction function was characterized by strong persistence of policy rates as well as a strong response to deviations of inflation from target and to the activity growth gap. In contrast, the response to the level of the output gap was not significant. In our empirical analysis we use real-time data, as available to policy-makers at the time.

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  • Andreas Beyer & Vitor Gaspar & Christina Gerberding & Otmar Issing, 2008. "Opting Out of the Great Inflation: German Monetary Policy After the Break Down of Bretton Woods," NBER Working Papers 14596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14596
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    Cited by:

    1. Bordo, Michael D., 2012. "Could the United States have had a better central bank? An historical counterfactual speculation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 597-607.
    2. Riccardo DiCecio & Edward Nelson, 2009. "The great inflation in the United States and the United Kingdom: reconciling policy decisions and data outcomes," Working Papers 2009-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Masciandaro, Donato & Romelli, Davide, 2015. "Ups and downs of central bank independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: theory, institutions and empirics," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(03), pages 259-289, December.
    4. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2015. "Ups and Downs. Central Bank Independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: Theory, Institutions and Empirics," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1503, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    5. Mandler, Martin, 2011. "Threshold effects in the monetary policy reaction function of the Deutsche Bundesbank," MPRA Paper 32430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. von Thadden, Leopold, 2012. "Monetary policy rules in an OLG model with non-superneutral money," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 147-166.
    7. Otmar Issing, 2013. "A New Paradigm for Monetary Policy?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 273-288, June.
    8. Issing Otmar & Wieland Volker, 2013. "Monetary Theory and Monetary Policy: Reflections on the Development over the last 150 Years," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 233(3), pages 423-445, June.
    9. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:95-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Cobham, David, 2018. "A comprehensive classification of monetary policy frameworks for advanced and emerging economies," MPRA Paper 84737, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Otmar Issing, 2010. "The development of monetary policy in the 20th century – some reflections," Working Paper Research 186, National Bank of Belgium.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • 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

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