Some Reflections on the Political Economy of Monetary Policy

and Jakob de Haan
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  • De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • CESifo, Munich, Germany
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During the past decades, central bank independence has been increased in a large number of countries. However, even an independent central bank does not operate in a political vacuum. For instance, governments generally appoint political allies, presuming that consequently the central bank will follow policies that are in line with the governments’ preferences. The first part of this paper reviews recent research on whether the political ideology of the government has any impact on monetary policies pursued. It is argued that if forward-looking data are used to estimate Taylor-rule models for a panel of OECD countries that take country heterogeneity into account, there is no strong evidence for partisan effects on monetary policy. One of the reasons that central bank independence is no longer taken for granted is the acclaimed redistributive effects of monetary policy. The second part of the paper reviews recent research on the impact of conventional and unconventional monetary policy on income and wealth inequality. It is concluded that empirical research provides very mixed evidence on these issues and that it is not well connected to recent theoretical work.

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The Review of Economics (Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftswissenschaften) is a peer-reviewed general interest journal publishing articles from all fields of economics with a strong policy focus. The journal aims to provide a forum for policy contributions and to influence the public debate.