Why do European central banks respond more aggressively to inflation than the US central bank? Could it be the difference in social safety nets?
My off-the-cuff answer would be that European central banks (in essence the ECB plus satellites) are influenced by the German tradition which has put fighting inflation as the top economic priority even at the cost of economic growth and employment. This again has a link back to the inflation of the early 1920s which nearly broke German economy in general and a lot of private and public savings.
The inflation also had some pretty bad effects for social insurance funds, which had already been badly hit by being forced to buy bad government bonds during WWI, so the link between inflation and social policy has existed for a long time.
On the other hand, we could ask how such a policy would be sustainable politically, and intuitively the argument that an extensive and effective unemployment insurance could be used as an instrument in economic policy along with monetary policy makes a lot of sense. But then again, as I recall, Social Democrats and left-wingers in Sweden and Denmark have raised the ECB’s (and the EMU’s) focus on inflation as an issue.
Anyway, if somebody out there has access to relevant databases and software, it should be possible to test a model including central bank rate decisions, inflation rates, unemployment insurance coverage and unemployment. Or perhaps it has already been done?