A Question of Credibility: a Short History of ECB Monetary Policy

  • David Howarth
  • Peter Loedel


As noted in the previous chapter, credibility centres on whether and how central bankers can make credible commitments about their future conduct. Importantly, central bank independence and the credibility that flows from it needs to be understood in terms of actual policy and behaviour. It is one thing to proclaim a central bank independent — and, as we have demonstrated, the ECB maintains high levels of independence. It is another thing to proclaim the central bank’s policies credible. Monetary policy credibility must be measured over time and must be evaluated in terms of the monetary policies and behaviour of the bank. Moreover, the structure of the economy and internal politics may present the ECB with difficult tradeoffs between short-run policy benefits and long-run policy costs that may have an impact upon credibility. Such tradeoffs present the central bank with difficult policy choices that will be analysed in minute detail by politicians and markets alike. Such choices are the basis of evaluating central bank credibility.


Interest Rate Monetary Policy Central Bank European Central Bank Price Stability 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Howarth
    • 1
  • Peter Loedel
    • 2
  1. 1.The School of Social and Political StudiesUniversity of EdinburghUK
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceWest Chester UniversityUSA

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