IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpma/0103006.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do We Really Need Central Bank Independence? A Critical Re- examination

Author

Listed:
  • Bernd Hayo

    (Georgetown University & University of Bonn)

  • Carsten Hefeker

    (University of Basel)

Abstract

In this survey, we critically review the argument for central bank independence (CBI). We argue CBI is neither necessary nor sufficient for reaching monetary stability. First, CBI is just one potentially useful monetary policy design instrument among several. Second, CBI should not be treated as an exogenous variable, but instead attention should be devoted to the question of why central banks are made independent. CBI is chosen by countries under specific circumstances, which are related to their legal, political, and economic systems. Third, in a number of empirical studies, researchers found CBI is correlated with low inflation rates. By taking the endogeneity of CBI into account, however, there is no reason to believe the correlation between CBI and low inflation tells us anything about causality.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernd Hayo & Carsten Hefeker, 2001. "Do We Really Need Central Bank Independence? A Critical Re- examination," Macroeconomics 0103006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0103006
    Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on IBM PC; pages: 31
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/mac/papers/0103/0103006.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-286, March.
    2. Hillman, Arye L. & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2000. "Political culture and economic decline," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-213, June.
    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476.
    4. S. Eijffinger & M. Van Keulen, 1995. "Central bank independence in another eleven countries," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 48(192), pages 39-81.
    5. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1991. "The Advantage of Tying One's Hands: EMS Discipline and Central Bank Credibility," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 303-330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Hoeberichts, Marco, 1998. "The Trade off between Central Bank Independence and Conservativeness," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 397-411, July.
    7. Lippi, Francesco, 2002. "Revisiting the case for a populist central banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 601-612, March.
    8. Lippi, Francesco, 2000. "Median Voter Preferences, Central Bank Independence and Conservatism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 323-338, December.
    9. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B, 1995. "Political Influence on the Central Bank: International Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(3), pages 397-423, September.
    10. Gros Daniel & Hefeker Carsten, 2002. "One Size Must Fit All: National Divergences in a Monetary Union," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 247-262, August.
    11. David Cobham & Stefania Cosci & Fabrizio Mattesini & Jean Marin Serre, 2000. "The Nature and Relevance of Central Bank Independence:an Analysis of Three European Countries," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 200017, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
    12. David Soskice & Torben Iversen, 2000. "The Nonneutrality of Monetary Policy with Large Price or Wage Setters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 265-284.
    13. Bagheri, Fatholla M & Habibi, Nader, 1998. "Political Institutions and Central Bank Independence: A Cross-Country Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 96(1-2), pages 187-204, July.
    14. Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini & Gerald D. Cohen, 1997. "Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510944.
    15. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-920, December.
    16. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
    17. Adam S. Posen, 1995. "Declarations Are Not Enough: Financial Sector Sources of Central Bank Independence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 253-274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-211, May.
    19. Susan M. Collins & Francesco Giavazzi, 1993. "Attitudes toward Inflation and the Viability of Fixed Exchange Rates: Evidence from the EMS," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 547-586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Helge Berger & Carsten Hefeker & Ronnie Schöb, 2004. "Optimal Central Bank Conservatism and Monopoly Trade Unions," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 585-605, November.
    21. Giordani, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2001. "Constitutions and Central Bank Independence: An Objection to McCallum's Second Fallacy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 426, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Mar 2001.
    22. Manfred Neumann, 1991. "Precommitment by central bank independence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 95-112, June.
    23. Vaubel, Roland, 1997. "The bureaucratic and partisan behavior of independent central banks: German and international evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 201-224, May.
    24. Guzzo, Vincenzo & Velasco, Andres, 1999. "The case for a populist Central Banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1317-1344, June.
    25. H.P. Grãœner & C. Hefeker, 1995. "Domestic pressures and the exchange rate regime: why economically bad decisions are politically popular?," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 48(194), pages 331-350.
    26. Helge Berger & Jakob De Haan & Sylvester C.W. Eijffinger, 2001. "Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 3-40, February.
    27. Forder, James, 1996. "On the Assessment and Implementation of 'Institutional' Remedies," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(1), pages 39-51, January.
    28. Maier, Philipp & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & de Haan, Jakob, 2002. "Political pressure on the Bundesbank: an empirical investigation using the Havrilesky approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 103-123, March.
    29. Lindner, Axel, 2000. "Long-term appointment of central bankers: costs and benefits," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 639-654, November.
    30. 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.
    31. 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.
    32. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1993. "The Unstable EMS," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 51-144.
    33. 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.
    34. Clive Briault & Andrew Haldane & Mervyn A. King, 1997. "Independence and Accountability," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Iwao Kuroda (ed.), Towards More Effective Monetary Policy, chapter 10, pages 299-340, Palgrave Macmillan.
    35. Hayo, Bernd, 1999. "Knowledge and Attitude Towards European Monetary Union," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 641-651, September.
    36. Berger, Helge, 1997. "Konjunkturpolitik im Wirtschaftswunder," Beiträge zur Finanzwissenschaft, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, volume 2, number urn:isbn:9783161467950, September.
    37. Posen, Adam, 1998. "Central Bank Independence and Disinflationary Credibility: A Missing Link?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 335-359, July.
    38. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1997. "Why Does Inflation Differ across Countries?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 335-362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. James Forder, 2001. "The Theory of Credibility and the Reputation-bias of Policy," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 5-25.
    40. Hayo, Bernd, 1998. "Inflation culture, central bank independence and price stability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 241-263, May.
    41. de Haan, Jakob & van 't Hag, Gert Jan, 1995. "Variation in Central Bank Independence across Countries: Some Provisional Empirical Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 335-351, December.
    42. Helge Berger & Jakob De Haan, 1999. "A State Within the State? An Event Study on the Bundesbank (1948–1973)," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 46(1), pages 17-39, February.
    43. Eijffinger, S. & De Hann, J., 1995. "The Political Economy of Central Bank Independence," Papers 9587, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
    44. Berger, Helge & Woitek, Ulrich, 1997. "How opportunistic are partisan German central bankers: Evidence on the Vaubel hypothesis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 807-821, December.
    45. Alan S. Blinder, 2000. "Central-Bank Credibility: Why Do We Care? How Do We Build It?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1421-1431, December.
    46. Mangano, Gabriel, 1998. "Measuring Central Bank Independence: A Tale of Subjectivity and of Its Consequences," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 468-492, July.
    47. Cubitt, Robin P, 1992. "Monetary Policy Games and Private Sector Precommitment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 513-530, July.
    48. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "How severe is the time-inconsistency problem in monetary policy?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 27(Sum), pages 17-33.
    49. Etienne Farvaque & Jerome Hericourt & Gaël Lagadec, 2010. "Central bank independence and ageing," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(12), pages 1167-1171.
    50. Forder, James, 1998. "Central Bank Independence--Conceptual Clarifications and Interim Assessment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 307-334, July.
    51. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    52. 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 473-491, June.
    53. Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Strategic Monetary Policy with Non-Atomistic Wage Setters: A Case for Non-Neutrality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2218, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    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. Masciandaro, Donato & Romelli, Davide, 2015. "Ups and downs of central bank independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: theory, institutions and empirics," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 259-289, December.
    2. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    3. Masciandaro, Donato & Quintyn, Marc & Taylor, Michael W., 2008. "Inside and outside the central bank: Independence and accountability in financial supervision: Trends and determinants," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 833-848, December.
    4. Donato Masciandaro & Mr. Marc G Quintyn & Mr. Michael W Taylor, 2008. "Financial Supervisory Independence and Accountability–Exploring the Determinants," IMF Working Papers 2008/147, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Ahmet Emrah Tayyar, 2017. "Political Monetary Cycles In Coalition And Single Party Government Periods: A Case Study On Turkey," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 6, pages 89-111, December.
    6. Theodore Panagiotidis & Afroditi Triampella, 2006. "Central Bank Independence and inflation: the case of Greece," Revista de Economía del Rosario, Universidad del Rosario, June.
    7. Marc Quintyn, 2009. "Independent agencies: more than a cheap copy of independent central banks?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 267-295, September.
    8. Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Inflation, Central Bank Independence, and the Legal System," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(4), pages 751-777, December.
    9. Bihari, Péter, 2017. "A jegybanki függetlenség és elszámoltathatóság a válság előtt és után [Independence and accountability of central banks before and after the global financial crisis]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 573-593.
    10. Erixon, Lennart, 2011. "Under the influence of traumatic events, new ideas, economic experts and the ICT revolution - the economic policy and macroeconomic performance of Sweden in the 1990s and 2000s," Research Papers in Economics 2011:25, Stockholm University, 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. Hayo, Bernd & Hefeker, Carsten, 2002. "Reconsidering central bank independence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 653-674, November.
    2. D. Masciandaro, 2019. "What Bird Is That? Central Banking And Monetary Policy In The Last Forty Years," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 19127, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    3. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2018. "To Be or not to Be a Euro Country? The Behavioural Political Economics of Currency Unions," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1883, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. Weymark, Diana N., 2007. "Inflation, government transfers, and optimal central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 297-315, February.
    5. Donato Masciandaro, 2021. "Central Bank Governance in Monetary Policy Economics (1981-2020)," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 21153, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    6. Masciandaro, Donato & Romelli, Davide, 2015. "Ups and downs of central bank independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: theory, institutions and empirics," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 259-289, December.
    7. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2019. "Behavioral Monetary Policymaking: Economics, Political Economy and Psychology," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Behavioral Finance The Coming of Age, chapter 9, pages 285-329, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Hielscher, Kai & Markwardt, Gunther, 2012. "The role of political institutions for the effectiveness of central bank independence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 286-301.
    9. J. De Haan & F. Amtenbrink & S.C.W. Eijffinger, 1999. "Accountability of central banks: aspects and quantification," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 52(209), pages 169-193.
    10. Helge Berger & Ulrich Woitek, "undated". "Does Conservatism Matter? A Time Series Approach to Central Banking," Working Papers 9814, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow, revised May 1999.
    11. Helge Berger & Carsten Hefeker & Ronnie Schöb, 2004. "Optimal Central Bank Conservatism and Monopoly Trade Unions," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 585-605, November.
    12. Michael Berlemann & Kai Hielscher, 2013. "Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism: A Comparison of 13 OECD Countries," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(3), pages 267-290, July.
    13. Haan, Jakob de & Kooi, Willem J., 2000. "Does central bank independence really matter?: New evidence for developing countries using a new indicator," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 643-664, April.
    14. Richard Mash, 2000. "The Time Inconsistency of Monetary Policy with Inflation Persistence," Economics Series Working Papers 15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    15. Franz R. Hahn & Peter Mooslechner, 1999. "Zur Fundierung des Designs des Europäischen Zentralbanksystems," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 72(1), pages 49-60, January.
    16. de Jong, Eelke, 2002. "Why are price stability and statutory independence of central banks negatively correlated? The role of culture," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 675-694, November.
    17. Sayer, Stuart, 2000. "Issues in New Political Economy: An Overview," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 513-526, December.
    18. Cukierman, Alex, 2008. "Central bank independence and monetary policymaking institutions -- Past, present and future," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 722-736, December.
    19. Andreas Freytag, 2001. "Does central bank independence reflect monetary commitment properly? Methodical considerations," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 54(217), pages 181-208.
    20. Mark Mietzner & Dirk Schiereck, 2011. "Staatsfonds als Ankerinvestoren: Eine Note zum Einstieg von Aabar bei Daimler," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 92-100, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central bank independence; monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Economia in Wikipedia Portuguese
    2. 经济学 in Wikipedia Chinese

    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:wpa:wuwpma:0103006. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: EconWPA (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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.