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Alex Cukierman

Alex Cukierman is Professor of Economics at Tel Aviv University.

Titles by This Author

Theory and Evidence

Alex Cukierman is well known for his work on central bank behavior. This book brings together a large body of Cukierman's research and integrates it with recent developments in the political economy of monetary policy. Filled with applications and carefully worked out technical detail, it provides a valuable comprehensive analysis of central bank decisions, of the various effects of policy on inflation, and of the feedback from inflationary expectations to policy choices.

Cukierman uncovers and analyzes the reasons for positive inflation and rates of monetary expansion. He shows that the money supply, and therefore inflation, are not exogenous. They are influenced by interactions involving distributional considerations, private information, personal motives, and the political environment. This point of view makes it possible to identify the institutional, political, and other features of a country that may be conducive to inflationary environments.

Cukierman presents new multidimensional evidence on both legal and actual central bank independence for a sample of up to 70 countries and uses it to investigate the interconnections between the distributions of inflation and of central bank independence. He takes up such issues as why some countries have more independent central banks than others and identifies reasons for the substantial cross country variation in seigniorage. He provides positive explanations for the tendency of central banks, like the US Federal Reserve, to smooth interest rates and to be secretive. Observing that it is likely that the European Economic Community will have a monetary union before the turn of the century, Cukierman applies the techniques of modern political economy to discuss the effect of this change on the commitment to price stability.

The book includes simple and advanced materials as well as informal summaries of the major technical results. The introduction contains a modular guide for reading and teaching the material.

Titles by This Editor

What political and economic factors stimulate growth and make an economy expand? These original contributions by some of today's leading macroeconomists and political economists explore a broad spectrum of social, political, and technological variables that encourage or impede economic growth. Topics range from economic reform and price flexibility to the economic effects of political coups and include both theoretical analysis and empirical results.

During the past decade, economists have seen important new developments linking growth and business cycles to government policy. These contributions provide a clear understanding of these processes and their effect in shaping economic policy. They look at the welfare side of economics and offer strong economic models to explain the connection between social policies and economic growth. For example, John Londregan and Keith Poole address the economic effects of political coups, Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini explore the question of whether inequality is harmful for growth, and Stephen Parente and Edward Prescott look at the role of technology adoption in stimulating growth.

The essays cover a wide range of approaches. Several focus on the interaction between growth and the choice of policy, where policy reacts to economic and distributional considerations through a majority rule process. Others take the policy as given and focus on the empirical estimation of the speed of convergence of rates of growth across states and regions and the importance of externalities and knowledge spillovers for rates of growth. Essays about the business cycle fall into two broad categories. One, arising from the new political economy tradition, examines the effects of elections and price decontrols on the business cycle. The other explores the implications of optimal economic policies in a representative agent framework for the cyclical behavior of the economy.