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The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy

  • Jon Faust
  • Lars E.O. Svensson

We examine a central bank's endogenous choice of degree of control and degree of transparency, under both commitment and discretion. Under commitment, we find that the deliberate choice of sloppy control is far less likely under a standard central-bank loss function than reported for a less standard loss function by Cukierman and Meltzer. Under discretion, maximum degree of control is the only equilibrium. With regard to the degree of transparency, under commitment, a sufficiently patient bank with sufficiently low average inflation bias will always choose minimum transparency. Under discretion, both minimum and maximum transparency are equilibria. We argue that discretion is the more realistic assumption for the choice of control and that commitment is more realistic for the choice of transparency. A maximum feasible degree of control with a minimum degree of transparency is then a likely outcome. The Bundesbank and the Federal Reserve System are, arguably, examples of this outcome.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7152.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Publication status: published as Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Vol. 34, no. 2 (May 2002): 520-539
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7152
Note: ME
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  1. Jon Faust & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Transparency and credibility: monetary policy with unobservable goals," International Finance Discussion Papers 605, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. 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 473-91, June.
  3. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," Working Papers 97-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," CEPR Discussion Papers 1511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Walsh, Carl E, 1999. "Announcements, Inflation Targeting and Central Bank Incentives," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 255-69, May.
  6. Marvin Goodfriend, 1985. "Monetary mystique : secrecy and central banking," Working Paper 85-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  7. Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," Papers 646, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Fischer, Stanley, 1990. "Rules versus discretion in monetary policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1155-1184 Elsevier.
  11. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Seonghwan Oh, 1990. "When and How Much to Talk: Credibility and Flexibility in Monetary Policy With Private Information," UCLA Economics Working Papers 593, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Kenneth L. Judd, 1997. "Computational Economics and Economic Theory: Substitutes or Complements," NBER Technical Working Papers 0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Carl E. Walsh, 1998. "U.S. inflation targeting: pro and con," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue may29.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1996. "What Does the Bundesbank Target?," NBER Working Papers 5764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  16. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  17. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608.
  18. von Hagen, J, 1995. "Inflation and Monetary Targeting in Germany," Papers 03, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies-.
  19. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Cheap Talk and the Fed: A Theory of Imprecise Policy Announcements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 32-42, March.
  20. 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.
  21. Walsh, Carl E, 1986. "In Defense of Base Drift," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 692-700, September.
  22. Lewis, Karen K, 1991. "Why Doesn't Society Minimize Central Bank Secrecy?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 403-15, July.
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