Central Bank Independence Revisited
24 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 11, 2018
In major advanced economies, including Australia, independent central banks have become established institutions. Yet there are reasons why the sustained presence of such an institution in a democratic society should be challenged. This paper considers the arguments usually advanced for central bank independence, and the underlying arguments for a failure of democracy including the standard argument based on the importance of central bank credibility. This argument depends crucially on the role of inflationary expectations on the actual inflation rate. We question whether the standard story is really relevant – and, if not, then independence depends on the argument that politicians may not always act in the best long-term interests of their constituencies but bankers are more likely to. We show that this is a questionable assumption. The post World War 2 development of Europe and the emergence of the European Central Bank is examined to illustrate our underlying proposition that Central bank independence is not the result of economic argument, but of political ones leading to suboptimal economic results.
Keywords: Central Bank Independence, Democracy, European Central Bank, Inflation, Inflationary Expectations
JEL Classification: E58, E50, G20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation