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What do we really know about the long-term evolution of central banking? Evidence from the past, insights for the present

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  • Stefano Ugolini

    ()
    (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

Abstract

The ongoing financial crisis is shaking central bankers’ certainties about their mission, and a rethinking of such mission can greatly benefit from a non-finalistic reassessment of how central banking has evolved over the centuries. This paper does so by taking a functional, instead of an institutional approach. The survey covers the provision of both microeconomic (financial stability) and macroeconomic (monetary stability) central banking functions in the West since the Middle Ages. The existence of a number of important trends (some unidirectional, some cyclical) is underlined. The findings have implications for the current debate on the institutional design of central banking, both in the U.S. and in the eurozone. Historical evidence suggests that neither changes in the organizational model of central banks nor government deficit monetization should necessarily be seen as evil; what is crucial to the success of any solution, is that the institutional agreement backing the existence of money-issuing organizations must be credible. The appendix provides a case study on Norway.

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File URL: http://www.norges-bank.no/en/Published/Papers/working-papers/2011/wp-201115/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2011/15.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 21 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2011_15

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Related research

Keywords: Central banking; monetary policy; financial stability; institutional design;

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Cited by:
  1. Thorvald Grung Moe, 2012. "Shadow Banking and the Limits of Central Bank Liquidity Support: How to Achieve a Better Balance between Global and Official Liquidity," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_712, Levy Economics Institute.
  2. Dalla Pellegrina, L. & Masciandaro, D. & Pansini, R.V., 2013. "The central banker as prudential supervisor: Does independence matter?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 415-427.
  3. Roberds, William & Velde, Francois R., 2014. "Early Public Banks," Working Paper Series WP-2014-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Poomjai Nacaskul & Kritchaya Janjaroen & Suparit Suwanik, 2012. "Economic Rationales for Central Banking: Historical Evolution, Policy Space, Institutional Integrity, and Paradigm Challenges," Working Papers 2012-04, Economic Research Department, Bank of Thailand.

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