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Estimating the Effect of Central Bank Independence on Inflation Using Longitudinal Targeted Maximum Likelihood Estimation

Philipp Baumann, Michael Schomaker and Enzo Rossi

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: The notion that an independent central bank reduces a country's inflation is a controversial hypothesis. To date, it has not been possible to satisfactorily answer this question because the complex macroeconomic structure that gives rise to the data has not been adequately incorporated into statistical analyses. We develop a causal model that summarizes the economic process of inflation. Based on this causal model and recent data, we discuss and identify the assumptions under which the effect of central bank independence on inflation can be identified and estimated. Given these and alternative assumptions, we estimate this effect using modern doubly robust effect estimators, i.e., longitudinal targeted maximum likelihood estimators. The estimation procedure incorporates machine learning algorithms and is tailored to address the challenges associated with complex longitudinal macroeconomic data. We do not find strong support for the hypothesis that having an independent central bank for a long period of time necessarily lowers inflation. Simulation studies evaluate the sensitivity of the proposed methods in complex settings when certain assumptions are violated and highlight the importance of working with appropriate learning algorithms for estimation.

Date: 2020-03, Revised 2020-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-cba, nep-cmp, nep-ecm and nep-mon
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