Wage Indexation, Central Bank Independence and the Cost of Disinflation
Recently, Fischer  and Posen  demonstrated empirically that countries with less independent central banks enjoy lower output losses during disinflationary cycles. Since independence is presume to provide a credibility bonus to the monetary policy, this conclusion looks surprising. To explain their paradoxical result, these authors put forward that independent central banks probably face a flatter short-run Phillips curve. In this paper, we provide a formal demonstration of this point. More precisely, we demonstrate that the private sector has less incentive to index its nominal wages when the central bank is granted with a large amount of independence. Since an increased indexation steepens the short-run Phillips curve, our result is consistent with the view that where central bank independence is greater, the cost of disinflation is higher. Our empirical tests, for a sample of 19 OECD countries, support our theoretical analysis. In particular, a negative and significant relationship is found between indexation and independence.
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