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Monetary Policy by Committee: Why and How?

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  • Alan S. Blinder

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Among the most notable, but least discussed, hallmarks of what I have called the quiet revolution in central banking practice (Blinder, 2004a) has been the movement toward making monetary policy decisions by committee. Until about a decade ago, most central banks had a single governor, who might or might not have been independent of the rest of the government. But since then, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Brazil, to name just a few, have opted to establish monetary policy committees (MPCs). In addition, the committee-based ECB replaced 12 central banks, most of which had previously been run by individual governors. I am unaware of any case in which a country replaced an MPC by a single decisionmaker. In fact, a recent survey by Pollard (2004) found that 79 out of 88 central banks made monetary policy by committee. Thus the existence of a pronounced worldwide trend is clear. So the first question for this paper is why. Why have so many central banks switched from individual to group decisionmaking?

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 84.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:118blinder

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  1. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," CEPR Discussion Papers 5626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Waller, Christopher J., 1992. "A bargaining model of partisan appointments to the central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 411-428, June.
  3. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Geraats, P., 2002. "How Transparent are Central Banks?," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-88701, Tilburg University.
  4. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  5. Clare Lombardelli & James Proudman & James Talbot, 2005. "Committees Versus Individuals: An Experimental Analysis of Monetary Policy Decision-Making," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
  6. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2004. "Is the MPC's Voting Record Informative about Future UK Monetary Policy?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 299-313, 06.
  7. Jon Faust, 1992. "Whom can we trust to run the Fed? Theoretical support for the founders' views," International Finance Discussion Papers 429, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. 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.
  9. Anne Sibert, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CESifo Working Paper Series 226, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  11. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  12. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  13. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
  14. Alan S. Blinder & Ricardo Reis, 2005. "Understanding the Greenspan Standard," Working Papers 88, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  15. Faust, Jon, 1996. "Whom can we trust to run the Fed? Theoretical support for the founders' views," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 267-283, April.
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