Monetary and Economic Studies Vol.15, No.1 / May 1997

Inflation and Central Bank Independence: Is Japan Really an Outlier?

Carl E. Walsh

The Bank of Japan has often been viewed as an outlier in combining low inflation with little formal central bank independence. This view has been based mainly on simple correlations between average inflation and measures of central bank independence. When additional factors that might account for cross-country variation in inflation rates are incorporated into the empirical analysis, Japan no longer appears to be a significant outlier. Since reputational considerations may have played a role in supporting a low-inflation environment in Japan, a simple model is used to show how increased political competition might affect equilibrium inflation.

Keywords: Central banks; Monetary policy; Inflation

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

Copyright © 1997 Bank of Japan All Rights Reserved.

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