IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/uct/uconnp/2002-29.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Central Banker Contracts, Incomplete Information, and Monetary Policy Surprises: In Search of a Selfish Central Banker?

Author

Listed:
  • Georgios E. Chortareas

    (Bank of England)

  • Stephen M. Miller

    (University of Nevada and University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Approaching monetary policy as a principal agent problem provides a useful framework for interpreting alternative delegation schemes. In this paper, we consider the effectiveness of central banker incentive schemes when the principal delegates monetary policy through contracts but remains uncertain about the central banker's responsiveness to such schemes. We adopt a simple principal-agent model and assume that the central banker's trade-off between social welfare and the incentive scheme is private information. We consider two types of central bankers; one who responds to the incentive scheme ('selfish') and one who does not and only cares about social welfare ('benevolent'). We demonstrate that when a benevolent central banker accepts a contract designed for a selfish central banker, positive inflation surprises occur and output exceeds its natural rate. We further show that a benevolent central banker with an inflation bias has an incentive to masquerade as selfish. Mechanisms exist that solve that problem by achieving preference revelation. We consider a simple mechanism in dominant strategies that induces the benevolent type either not to breach or not to accept the appointment (contract) in the first place. This multi-period mechanism works with either inflation targets, or the appointment of a conservative central banker. Our results suggest that more complicated incentive schemes, embedded within broader constitutional arrangements, are required in the presence of private information for them to work effectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2002. "Central Banker Contracts, Incomplete Information, and Monetary Policy Surprises: In Search of a Selfish Central Banker?," Working papers 2002-29, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2002-29
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://media.economics.uconn.edu/working/2002-29.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 1998. "Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 384-403, August.
    3. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-286, March.
    4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
    5. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-1070, December.
    6. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 2019. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 52(4), pages 505-525.
    7. 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.
    8. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
    9. Charles Nolan & Eric Schaling, 1996. "Monetary Policy Uncertainty and Central Bank Accountability," Bank of England working papers 54, Bank of England.
    10. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    11. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 675-708, August.
    12. 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 378-393, April.
    13. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
    14. Christopher J. Waller, 1995. "Performance contracts for central bankers," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-14.
    15. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, September.
    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. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Seonghwan Oh, 1990. "Strategic discipline in monetary policy with private information: optimal targeting periods," Working Papers 1990-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    18. Clive Briault & Andrew Haldane & Mervyn King, 1996. "Independence and Accountability," Bank of England working papers 49, Bank of England.
    19. Drew Fudenberg & Eric Maskin, 2008. "The Folk Theorem In Repeated Games With Discounting Or With Incomplete Information," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine (ed.), A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 11, pages 209-230, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    20. Herrendorf, Berthold & Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "Rogoff's "Conservative" Central Banker Restored," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 476-495, November.
    21. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    22. Carl E. Walsh, 2002. "When should central bankers be fired?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, March.
    23. Buchanan, James M, 1987. "The Constitution of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 243-250, June.
    24. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    25. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-920, December.
    26. Eric Schaling & Marco Hoeberichts & Sylvester Eijffinger, 1998. "Incentive schemes for central bankers under uncertainty: inflation targets versus contracts," Bank of England working papers 88, Bank of England.
    27. Cukierman, Alex & Liviatan, Nissan, 1991. "Optimal accommodation by strong policymakers under incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 99-127, February.
    28. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-211, May.
    29. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    30. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-538, June.
    31. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2003. "Monetary Policy Delegation, Contract Costs and Contract Targets," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 101-112, January.
    32. David Backus & John Driffill, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Policy Credibility Following a Change in Regime," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 211-221.
    33. Waller, Christopher J & Walsh, Carl E, 1996. "Central-Bank Independence, Economic Behavior, and Optimal Term Lengths," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1139-1153, December.
    34. 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 529-542, March.
    35. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-455, November.
    36. 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.
    37. Lawler, Phillip, 2000. "Centralised Wage Setting, Inflation Contracts, and the Optimal Choice of Central Banker," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 559-575, April.
    38. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    39. Jensen, Henrik, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy cooperation through state-independent contracts with targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 517-539, March.
    40. Marco Lossani & Piergiovanna Natale & Patrizio Tirelli, 1998. "Incomplete Information in Monetary Policy Games: Rules Rather Than a Conservative Central Banker," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 33-47, February.
    41. Avinash Dixit, 1996. "Special-Interest Lobbying and Endogenous Commodity Taxation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 375-388, Fall.
    42. Jonsson, Gunnar, 1997. "Monetary politics and unemployment persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 303-325, July.
    43. 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 241-254, May.
    44. Levy, Philip I., 1999. "Lobbying and international cooperation in tariff setting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 345-370, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Enrico Marchetti, 2008. "Linear Contracts, Common Agency and Central Bank Preference Uncertainty," Working Papers 115, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    2. Georgios Chortareas & David Stasavage & Gabriel Sterne, 2003. "Does monetary policy transparency reduce disinflation costs?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 521-540, September.
    3. Meixing Dai & Eleftherios Spyromitros, 2010. "Accountability And Transparency About Central Bank Preferences For Model Robustness," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(2), pages 212-237, May.
    4. Dai, Meixing & Spyromitros, Eleftherios, 2012. "Inflation contract, central bank transparency and model uncertainty," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2371-2381.
    5. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Enrico Marchetti, 2012. "Optimal linear contracts under common agency and uncertain central bank preferences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 263-282, January.
    6. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2006. "The Walsh Contracts for Central Bankers Are Optimal After All!," Working papers 2006-14, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Georgios Chortareas & Stephen Miller, 2004. "Optimal Central Banker Contracts and Common Agency," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 131-155, October.
    2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482, Elsevier.
    3. Berthold Herrendorf & Manfred J.M. Neumann, 2003. "The Political Economy of Inflation, Labour Market Distortions and Central Bank Independence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 43-64, January.
    4. Muscatelli, V Anton, 1998. "Political Consensus, Uncertain Preferences, and Central Bank Independence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 412-430, July.
    5. Francesco Salsano, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Presence Of Imperfect Observability Of The Objectives Of Central Bankers," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0523, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    6. Francesca Castellani & Xavier Debrun, 2005. "Designing Macroeconomic Frameworks: A Positive Analysis of Monetary and Fiscal Delegation," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 87-117, March.
    7. Francesca Castellani & Xavier Debrun, 2001. "Central Bank Independence and the Design of Fiscal Institutions," IMF Working Papers 2001/205, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Mihov, Ilian & Sibert, Anne, 2002. "Credibility and Flexibility with Monetary Policy Committees," CEPR Discussion Papers 3278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    10. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2003. "Monetary Policy Delegation, Contract Costs and Contract Targets," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 101-112, January.
    11. Geraats, Petra Maria, 2001. "Precommitment, Transparency and Monetary Policy," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,12, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    12. Mihov, Ilian & Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Credibility and Flexibility with Independent Monetary Policy Committees," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 23-46, February.
    13. Falcetti, Elisabetta & Missale, Alessandro, 2002. "Public debt indexation and denomination with an independent central bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1825-1850, December.
    14. Weymark, Diana N., 2007. "Inflation, government transfers, and optimal central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 297-315, February.
    15. Walsh, Carl E, 2003. "Accountability, Transparency, and Inflation Targeting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 829-849, October.
    16. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-397, May.
    17. Lu, Yang K. & King, Robert G. & Pasten, Ernesto, 2016. "Optimal reputation building in the New Keynesian model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 233-249.
    18. Gartner, Manfred, 2000. "Political Macroeconomics: A Survey of Recent Developments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 527-561, December.
    19. Carl E. Walsh, 2002. "When should central bankers be fired?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, March.
    20. Hayo, Bernd & Hefeker, Carsten, 2002. "Reconsidering central bank independence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 653-674, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • 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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2002-29. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark McConnel). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deuctus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.