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Deus ex machina wanted: time inconsistency of time consistency solutions in monetary policy

This paper argues that delegation (optimal institutional design) is not a solution to the dynamic inconcistency problem, and can even reinforce it. We show that 'optimal' delegation is not consistent with government's incentives. We solve for delegation schemes that are consistent with these incentives and find that they imply 'no delegation'. Introducing a cost of reappointing the central banker just postpones the problem, and can only solve it if the government is infinitely averse to changing central bank's contract. Our results hint to: (i) alternative explanations for good anti-inflationary performance; (ii) strengthening central bank independence and (iii) giving a more prominent role to Central Bank reputation building in fighting inflation.

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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Economics Papers with number 2005-W10.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 10 Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:0510
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  1. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-20, December.
  3. Woodford, Michael, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," CFS Working Paper Series 1999/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Henrik Jensen & Roel M. W. J. Beetsma, 1999. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 342-347, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Lockwood, Ben & Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 1998. "Designing Monetary Policy When Unemployment Persists," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(259), pages 327-45, August.
  7. Guy Debelle & Stanley Fischer, 1994. "How independent should a central bank be?," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  13. Stokey, Nancy L, 1989. "Reputation and Time Consistency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 134-39, May.
  14. Lockwood, Ben & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 1994. "Insider Power, Unemployment Dynamics and Multiple Inflation Equilibria," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(241), pages 59-77, February.
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