Constrained discretion : monetary policy frameworks, central bank independence and inflation in Central Europe, 1993-2001
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The thesis has two overarching objectives. One is to understand monetary policy in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia during 1990s and early 2000s; the other to use these findings to shed light on monetary policy in less developed, but highly open and financially integrated market economies. In order to achieve its aims, it analyses specific factors with significant influence on the conduct or outcomes of monetary policy in these countries; it analyses the transmission mechanism of monetary policy in Central Europe, based on a technique called vector autoregression; and examines use of principal types of constraints on policy discretion, such as central bank independence, exchange rate commitments and domestic targets for monetary policy, in countries of the sample. The thesis finds that strong internal and external pressures, together with frequent bouts of fiscal irresponsibility and sizeable additive and parametric uncertainty regarding the working of the economy, led, in all four countries, to pronounced macroeconomic vulnerability and a need for periodic adjustment to dangerous fiscal and external imbalances. Reaction of policy-makers in countries of the sample to this environment can be characterized as discretion constrained by a strong nominal anchor and real exchange rate considerations. Experience of Central European countries shows that various elements of a commitment by monetary authorities are not duplicatory or contradictory, but interdependent in contributing to the goal of constraining discretion. During the period studied, the two key overall developments in policy were the gradual shift of emphasis from exchange rate targets to domestic targets and (within domestic targets) a shift from monetary targets to inflation targets. This approach has been largely successful.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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