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Central Banking by Committee

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  • Anne Sibert

Abstract

A small economics literature on monetary policy making by committee is complemented by the literature on groups in the other social sciences. I review some of this work, focusing on the effect of size on group performance and whether committees are more moderate than individuals. Studies document that an individual's effort decreases with group size unless their contributions can be identified and evaluated and that committee membership is polarizing, tending to make committees more extreme. A particularly harmful form of group polarization occurs when a striving for consensus causes members to stop paying sufficient attention to alternative actions. The literature suggests that monetary policy committees should have a clear objective, publish individual votes and not have many more than five members. They should be structured so that members do not act as part of a group, perhaps by having short terms in office and members from outside the central bank. External scrutiny of the decision-making process should be encouraged. Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal International Finance.

Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (08)
Pages: 145-168

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Handle: RePEc:bla:intfin:v:9:y:2006:i:2:p:145-168

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  1. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2005. "Too little, too late: Interest rate setting and the costs of consensus," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 376-381, September.
  2. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 1999. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," NBER Working Papers 7158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1988. "Committees, Hierarchies and Polyarchies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 451-70, June.
  4. Lombardelli, Clare & Proudman, James & Talbot, James, 2005. "Committees Versus Individuals: An Experimental Analysis of Monetary Policy Decision Making," MPRA Paper 823, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  11. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  13. Christopher J. Waller, 2000. "Policy Boards And Policy Smoothing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 305-339, February.
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  1. Governance of bank supervision is central to its success
    by ? in Bruegel blog on 2012-08-31 10:06:28
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