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Is the ECB Sufficiently Accountable and Transparent?

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Abstract

More than two years after its inception, the ECB is still perceived as lacking transparency by many academics and market participants. Our analysis, based on a series of indicators, suggests instead that the ECB is, at least on paper, one of the most transparent and accountable central banks. The discrepancy between theory and public perception suggests that much remains to be done within the given institutional framework to improve the transparency of the ECB. What is the best way to achieve this goal? Several suggestions have been put forward, such as publishing the detailed minutes of the ECB Governing Council meetings. This would result in shifting the true debate to informal meetings of the Governing Council, while formal meetings would only record pre-packaged consensus with no or little discussion. In our view, the best way to make the ECB more accountable is to engage it in substantive discussions about its policy. The ECB should provide more information about the background analysis that leads to policy decisions. For example, the ECB should transform its 'staff projections' into true inflation forecasts and it should be more open about the arguments that shape the internal debates, which precedes decisions. Accountability cannot be ensured by the ECB alone. An important role has to be played by its counterparts, such as the European Parliament, the Council of EU Finance Ministers and the public at large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes in its series Economics Working Papers with number 007.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:epr:enepwp:007

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Cited by:
  1. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Geraats, Petra M & van der Cruijsen, Carin A B, 2006. "Does Central Bank Transparency Reduce Interest Rates?," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Geraats, Petra M., 2006. "How transparent are central banks?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, March.
  3. Giuseppe Ciccarone & Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Enrico Marchetti, 2005. "Unions, fiscal policy and central bank transparency," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 0508004, EconWPA.
  4. Nergiz Dincer & Barry Eichengreen, 2009. "Central Bank Transparency: Causes, Consequences and Updates," NBER Working Papers 14791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. N. Nergiz Dincer & Barry Eichengreen, 2007. "Central Bank Transparency: Where, Why, and with What Effects?," NBER Working Papers 13003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Viv Hall, 2003. "Central Bank Governance: Common Elements or Different Models?," Working Papers 202003, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  7. Tuysuz, Sukriye, 2007. "The effects of a greater central bank credibility on interest rates level and volatility response to news in the U.K," MPRA Paper 5263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Jean-Paul Pollin, 2002. "Pour une stratégie de cible d'inflation dans la zone euro," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, Programme National Persée, vol. 65(1), pages 39-68.
  9. Wasim Shahid Malik & Musleh-ud Din, 2008. "Monetary Policy Transparency in Pakistan: An Independent Analysis," PIDE-Working Papers, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics 2008:44, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
  10. Kevin Ross, 2002. "Market Predictability of ECB Monetary Policy Decisions," IMF Working Papers 02/233, International Monetary Fund.

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