The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper reviews central banks’ legal reform in Latin America during the 1990s and discusses the status of central bank independence in the region. Based on this information, it builds a simplified index of central bank independence which, in addition to the commonly used criteria of political and economic independence, incorporates provisions of central banks’ financial autonomy, accountability, and lender-of-last-resort. The paper finds a moderate negative correlation between increased central bank independence and inflation during 1999–2001 in 14 Latin American countries. Dissagregating the index, the same analysis suggests that economic independence is the key component driving the observed negative correlation between legal central bank independence and inflation.