Más allá de los objetivos de inflación

EDIMBURGO – En las últimas tres décadas, más o menos, los banqueros centrales y los académicos se han convencido cada vez más de que fijar objetivos de inflación es la clave para conservar la estabilidad macroeconómica. No obstante es prácticamente imposible probarlo y la crisis financiera de 2008 hizo pensar a muchos que la política monetaria debe centrarse en algo más que los precios de los bienes y servicios. ¿Cómo debe estructurarse, entonces, un mandato revisado para los bancos centrales a fin de mantener sus objetivos de inflación baja y permitir al mismo tiempo que la política monetaria aborde otros temas cuando sea necesario?

La contribución de la fijación de objetivos de inflación a la estabilidad macroeconómica es difícil de discernir por una simple razón: es imposible saber qué ocurriría si el banco central de un país decidiera hacer lo contrario. Al no poder comparar los resultados directamente, los investigadores han utilizado una serie de estrategias para identificar el impacto de la fijación de objetivos de inflación y han constatado generalmente que es sustancial (aunque el efecto se reduce o desaparece cuando se toman en cuenta los puntos de partida de los países).

Por ejemplo, un estudio de caso del Reino Unido en los años 1997-2007 – un periodo en el que se utilizaron objetivos de inflación y en el que el Banco de Inglaterra tuvo plena independencia en sus políticas– indica una mejora considerable con respecto a un punto de partida débil. El enfoque de la estabilidad de precios estuvo acompañado de una inflación relativamente baja (en comparación con el pasado y con otras economías importantes), crecimiento sólido y poca volatilidad de la producción.

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