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Asserting Independence: Optimal Monetary Policy When the Central Bank and Political Authority Disagree

Justin Svec () and Daniel Tortorice ()

No 2201, Working Papers from College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics

Abstract: A central bank has preferences that differ from the political authority. While the central bank is independent, i.e. it maximizes its own preferences, households do not know this. Instead, households observe the interest rate choices of the central bank and update their beliefs regarding central bank independence using Bayesian learning. We solve for the optimal interest rate policy in a New-Keynesian model where the central bank considers the effect of its policy decision on the households’ beliefs that it is independent. The model provides a theoretical measure of central bank independence and a mapping from this level of independence to expected future losses for the central bank. Because the central bank suffers large losses when it is not perceived as independent, the central bank may choose a policy that is quite distant from its rational expectations counterpart to bolster the perception of its independence. We show that productivity shocks provide greater scope for the central bank to demonstrate its independence than do demand shocks, leading the central bank to deviate more aggressively from the benchmark rational expectations policy choice for the former shock than for the latter. Finally, varying perceptions of independence over time generate time varying volatility in interest rate policy and macroeconomic outcomes.

Keywords: Monetary Policy; Central Bank Independence; Learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 E52 E58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2022-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ban, nep-cba, nep-dge, nep-mac and nep-mon
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