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Rules, Discretion, and Central Bank Independence: The German Experience 1880 - 1989

Author

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  • Bernard Eschweiler

    (J.P. Morgan GmbH)

  • Michael D. Bordo

    () (Rutgers University)

Abstract

Theories of rules and discretion have become a corner stone in the formulation of macroeconomic policy. They suggest that monetary policy rules are first best in terms of social welfare. However, if commitment is not feasible, delegating monetary policy to an independent and conservative central bank can be second best. Monetary policy in Germany during the past one hundred years provides an excellent case to assess the empirical evidence on the use of rules and central bank independence in monetary policy making. Since the creation of a central monetary authority in 1876, Germany has participated in four monetary regimes: the pre-war gold standard, the inter-war gold standard, the Bretton Woods system, and the floating exchange rate regime. With the exception of the two world war periods German monetary policy was geared primarily towards maintaining price stability and characterized by a high degree of formal and practical central bank independence

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard Eschweiler & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "Rules, Discretion, and Central Bank Independence: The German Experience 1880 - 1989," Departmental Working Papers 199402, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199402
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. 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.
    3. Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, J├╝rgen & Waller, Christopher, 1992. "From EMS to EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 618, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Burdekin, Richard C K & Laney, Leroy O, 1988. "Fiscal Policymaking and the Central Bank Institutional Constraint," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 647-662.
    5. Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld, 1993. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 201-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bradley, Michael D & Potter, Susan M, 1986. "The State of the Federal Budget and the State of the Economy: Further Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 143-153, January.
    8. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    9. Bharat Trehan, 1988. "The practice of monetary targeting: a case study of the West German experience," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Spr, pages 30-44.
    10. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord93-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1994. "The Specie Standard as a Contingent Rule: Some Evidence for Core and Peripheral Countries, 1880-1990," NBER Working Papers 4860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    central bank independence; discretion; Germany; rules;

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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