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Linear Contracts, Common Agency and Central Bank Preference Uncertainty

  • Giuseppe Ciccarone
  • Enrico Marchetti

The aim of this paper is to bring together two recent developments in the â€contracting†approach to the time-inconsistency problem of monetary policy: linear contracts under common agency and central bank preference uncertainty under single agency. We show that under common agency and imperfect â€political†transparencey, the full transparency finding that the interest group contract dominates the government’s one is confirmed, but equilibrium expected inflation is lower, as the new source of uncertainty makes the two principals more cautious in their instrument setting. This reduces the average inflation bias. We then extend the analysis to the case of uncertainty on the central bank output target and show that the expected values of inflation and output are the same as those obtained under perfect â€economic†transparency, whereas the actual values are different only for the presence of an additive term depending on opacity. Finally, we demonstrate that when the principals are uncertain about the weight attached by the central banker to the incentive scheme the equilibrium inflation surprise may be negative and output may be lower than the natural rate.

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Paper provided by University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics in its series Working Papers with number 115.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp115
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  1. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2001. "Beyond Bipolar: A Three-Dimensional Assessment of Monetary Frameworks," Working Paper Series WP01-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  2. Jensen, Henrik, 2002. " Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(3), pages 399-422, September.
  3. Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, Jurgen & Waller, Christopher J, 1997. "Central Banking as a Political Principal-Agent Problem," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 378-93, April.
  4. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2002. "The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 520-39, May.
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  8. 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.).
  9. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Enrico Marchetti & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, 2007. "Unions, Fiscal Policy And Central Bank Transparency," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(5), pages 617-633, 09.
  10. Christopher J. Waller, 1995. "Performance contracts for central bankers," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-14.
  11. 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.
  12. Georgios Chortareas & Stephen Miller, 2004. "Optimal Central Banker Contracts and Common Agency," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 131-155, October.
  13. Beetsma, Roel & Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 1562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
  15. Carin van der Cruijsen & Sylvester Eijffinger, 2007. "The economic impact of central bank transparency: a survey," DNB Working Papers 132, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  16. Chortareas, Georgios E & Miller, Stephen M, 2003. " Central Banker Contracts, Incomplete Information, and Monetary Policy Surprises: In Search of a Selfish Central Banker?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 271-95, September.
  17. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency in Theory and Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 3639, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Georgios Chortareas & Stephen Miller, 2007. "The Walsh contract for central bankers proves optimal after all!," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 243-247, April.
  19. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Enrico Marchetti, 2005. "Central banks and information provided to the private sector," Macroeconomics 0504025, EconWPA, revised 27 Apr 2005.
  20. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 1999. "An Independent Central Bank Faced With Elected Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Muscatelli, V Anton, 1999. "Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets under Uncertainty: Why We Might Need Conservative Central Bankers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 241-54, May.
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  26. Francisco Candel-Sánchez & Juan Cristóbal Campoy-Miñarroy, 2004. "Is the Walsh Contract Really Optimal?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 29-39, 07.
  27. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 2003. " Why Money Talks and Wealth Whispers: Monetary Uncertainty and Mystique: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(1), pages 129-36, February.
  28. Hans Gersbach & Volker Hahn, 2004. "Voting Transparency, Conflicting Interests, And The Appointment Of Central Bankers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16, pages 321-345, November.
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  30. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  31. Georgios Chortareas & David Stasavage & Gabriel Sterne, 2001. "Does it pay to be transparent? International evidence from central bank forecasts," Bank of England working papers 143, Bank of England.
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