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How can we strengthen public confidence in the euro project following the Greek public debt crisis? To do so, it is crucial to remove the risk of a full-blown sovereign debt crisis, which could easily trigger a banking crisis, in the euro area. This requires us to resolve the conflict between national fiscal policy and supra-national monetary policy by reinforcing the institutions underpinning fiscal policy.
To my mind, three sets of measures need to be adopted: we need to strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP); we must ensure that fiscal policy is subject to stringent surveillance and supervision; and we have to make sure that there is a permanent and credible crisis resolution mechanism that provides incentives for investors not to lend, and for governments not to borrow, excessively.
There is now a remarkably strong consensus among academics and professional economists that central banks should adopt explicit inflation targets and that all key monetary policy decisions, especially those concerning interest rates, should be made with a view to ensuring that these targets are achieved. This book provides a comprehensive review of the experience of inflation targeting since its introduction in New Zealand in 1989 and looks in detail at what we can learn from the past twenty years and what challenges we may face in the future. Written by a distinguished team of academics and professional economists from central banks around the world, the book covers a wide range of issues including many that have arisen as a result of the recent financial crisis. It should be read by anyone concerned with better understanding inflation targeting and its past, present and future role within monetary policy.
The first country to adopt inflation targeting (IT) in its formal definition was New Zealand, which first announced a consumer price index (CPI) inflation target in 1989 as part of its economic reform and restructuring effort. IT was therefore twenty years old by the time of the conference in Oslo at Norges Bank, Norway's central bank, in June 2009 at which the contributions in this volume were originally presented – a conference sponsored jointly by Norges Bank and the Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS) of the Goethe University in Frankfurt. The anniversary seemed a good time for some deeper and longer reflection. In organising the conference and putting together this book, we therefore sought answers to a wide range of questions, from the nature and causes of the spread of IT through the degree of its success as a monetary policy strategy to the ways in which it is developing and may develop in the future.
Formal inflation targeting can be considered as involving (i) the prior announcement of a quantitative target for a specific measure of inflation; (ii) an emphasis by the central bank as policymaker on communicating both the reasons for the decisions it has taken and the type of decisions it is likely to take in the future, including in particular the publication of its inflation forecasts; and (iii) a high level of accountability for the central bank via the publication of information on its decisions and regular appearances before relevant public bodies.
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