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Inflation Targeting: What can the ECB Learn from the Recent Experience of the Bank of England

  • Economics


The establishment of the European Central Bank (ECB) presents a rare opportunity to define the operations of a central bank with no prior track record. Before the ECB specifies an, as yet undefined, operational target this paper asks what might be learnt from the recent experience of inflation targeting at the Bank of England. We consider whether there should be single or multiple targets and which, if any, of the existing inflation measures should be used. If inflation is targeted then a forecast of its value becomes the intermediate variable. This raises both the issue of transparency and the issue of providing a compensating supply of information material necessary to fill the gap, but too much ‘openness’ can also be problematic. The ECB must be accountable and the contracting approach may be useful, but being seen to ‘say’ and ‘do’ the same thing is ultimately of the most importance.

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