Mensonges de taille sur le système bancaire central

Une banque centrale indépendante axée exclusivement sur la stabilité des prix est devenue un élément central du mantra de la « réforme économique ». Comme tant d'autres maximes politiques, il a tellement été assez souvent répété qu'il est devenu une réalité. Mais des affirmations assurées, même de la part de banquiers centraux, ne remplacent pas la recherche et l'analyse.

Des études suggèrent que si les banques centrales se concentrent sur l'inflation, leur travail est plus efficace en matière de contrôle de l'inflation. Mais contrôler l'inflation ne constitue pas une fin en soi : il s'agit simplement d'un moyen de parvenir à une croissance plus rapide et plus stable, avec un taux de chômage moins élevé.

Telles sont les véritables variables qui importent et peu de preuves viennent étayer l'hypothèse que les banques centrales indépendantes qui se concentrent exclusivement sur la stabilité des prix sont plus efficaces dans ces domaines cruciaux. George Akerlof, qui a partagé avec moi le Prix Nobel 2001, et ses collègues ont soutenu avec force qu'il existe un taux d'inflation optimal supérieur à zéro. Dans cette optique, la poursuite acharnée de la stabilité des prix nuit en fait à la croissance et au bien-être. Des études récentes mettent même en doute l'hypothèse selon laquelle la poursuite de la stabilité des prix réduirait le compromis entre l'inflation et le chômage.

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