Does Central Bank Independence Cause Low Inflation? A Sceptical View
55 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2008 Last revised: 25 Mar 2008
Date Written: March 2008
In this survey, we present a number of arguments that question some aspects of the conventional view of 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, while the relevant economic theories focus on the aspect of goal independence, in practice most central banks tend to be only instrument independent. Third, CBI should not be treated as an exogenous variable, but 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. Fourth, in a number of empirical studies, researchers found CBI to be correlated with low inflation rates. By taking the endogeneity of CBI into account, however, there remains little reason to believe the correlation between CBI and low inflation tells us anything about causality.
Keywords: Central bank independence, monetary policy
JEL Classification: E58, E52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation