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Does Money Matter in Africa? New Empirics on Long- and Short-run Effects of Monetary Policy on Output and Prices

Asongu, Simplice A (2013): Does Money Matter in Africa? New Empirics on Long- and Short-run Effects of Monetary Policy on Output and Prices.

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Abstract

Purpose – While in developed economies, changes in monetary policy affect real economic activity in the short-run but only prices in the long-run, the question of whether these tendencies apply to developing countries remains open to debate. In this paper, we examine the effects of monetary policy on economic activity using a plethora of hitherto unemployed financial dynamics in inflation-chaotic African countries for the period 1987-2010.

Design/methodology/approach – VARs within the frameworks of VECMs and simple Granger causality models are used to estimate the long-run and short-run effects respectively. A battery of robustness checks are also employed to ensure consistency in the specifications and results.

Findings – But for slight exceptions, the tested hypotheses are valid under monetary policy independence and dependence. Hypothesis 1: Monetary policy variables affect prices in the long-run but not in the short-run. For the first-half (long-run dimension) of the hypothesis, permanent changes in monetary policy variables (depth, efficiency, activity and size) affect permanent variations in prices in the long-term. But in cases of disequilibriums only financial dynamic fundamentals of depth and size significantly adjust inflation to the cointegration relations. With respect to the second-half (short-run view) of the hypothesis, monetary policy does not overwhelmingly affect prices in the short-term. Hence, but for a thin exception Hypothesis 1 is valid. Hypothesis 2: Monetary policy variables influence output in the short-term but not in the long-term. With regard to the short-term dimension of the hypothesis, only financial dynamics of depth and size affect real GDP output in the short-run. As concerns the long-run dimension, the neutrality of monetary policy has been confirmed. Hence, the hypothesis is also broadly valid.

Practical Implications – A wide range of policy implications are discussed. Inter alia: the long-run neutrality of money and business cycles, credit expansions and inflationary tendencies, inflation targeting and monetary policy independence implications. Country/regional specific implications, the manner in which the findings reconcile the ongoing debate, measures for fighting surplus liquidity, caveats and future research directions are also discussed.

Originality/value – By using a plethora of hitherto unemployed financial dynamics (that broadly reflect monetary policy), we provide significant contributions to the empirics of money. The conclusion of the analysis is a valuable contribution to the scholarly and policy debate on how money matters as an instrument of economic activity in developing countries.

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