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Does Central Bank Independence Matter in Arab Oil Exporters

Hoda Selim ()
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Hoda Selim: International Monetary Fund

No 1223, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: The paper shows that central banks in Arab oil exporters are not independent. Low independence reflects institutional arrangements that allow the executive branch to influence, interfere and in some cases, dominate over central bank operations. The paper argues that in a context of weak institutions, CBI has not always mattered for macroeconomic policy outcomes in Arab oil exporters. GCC central banks delivered a better macroeconomic policy performance than those of the populous group. CBI mattered less for the GCC because the credible peg discouraged discretion and was a good substitute for it. Soft peg arrangements in the populous economies in a context of weak institutions and discretionary policymaking in the absence of a de facto independent central bank led to disappointing monetary policy outcomes. As oil exporters adapt to a new normal of low oil prices, the sustainability of fixed exchange regimes may not be guaranteed without sound macroeconomic institutions. Stronger institutions and effective accountability mechanisms are needed to insulate central banks from political pressures. In the short-term, a rules-based framework could help.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara, nep-cba, nep-ene, nep-mac and nep-mon
Date: 2018-09-18, Revised 2018-09-18
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