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 addresses the question of why inflation has not yet converged to price stability in Central America and the Dominican Republic and is currently relatively high by Latin American standards. It suggests that despite the institutional strengthening of monetary policy, important flaws remain in most central banks, in particular a lack of a clear policy mandate and little political autonomy, which are adversely affecting the consistency of policy implementation. Empirical analysis reveals that all central banks raise interest rates to curtail inflation but only some of them increase it sufficiently to effectively tackle inflation pressures. It also shows that some central banks care simultaneously about exchange rate stability. The potential policy conflict arising from a dual central bank mandate and the unpredictable policy response is probably undermining markets' confidence in central banks' commitment to price stability, thereby perpetuating an inflation bias.