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Politicians and financial supervision unification outside the central bank: Why do they do it?


  • Masciandaro, Donato


An increasing number of countries show a trend towards a certain degree of consolidation of powers in financial supervision, which has resulted in the establishment of unified regulators, that are different from the national central banks. By contrast a high involvement of the central bank in supervision seems to be correlated with a multi-authorities regime (central bank fragmentation effect). This paper, using a simple application of a general common agency game, sheds light on which conditions the politicians prefer when implementing an unified sector supervision outside the central bank. From a theoretical point of view the quality of public sector governance plays a crucial role in determining the supervision unification. Focusing on the behaviour of the "good" policymaker (helping hand type), it will prefer a unified financial authority that is different from the central bank if the correspondent welfare gains-linked to at least one of the three effects: moral hazard, conflict of interest, bureaucracy--are considered higher respect to the information losses. The "bad" policymaker (grabbing hand type) will choose the single financial authority if the financial industry likes it, and the central bank is not a captured one. On the other hand, the paper tests the model, confirming the robustness of the institutional position of the central bank in explaining the recent trend in supervision consolidation, with an empirical analysis performed with ordered functions on an updated dataset.

Suggested Citation

  • Masciandaro, Donato, 2009. "Politicians and financial supervision unification outside the central bank: Why do they do it?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 124-146, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finsta:v:5:y:2009:i:2:p:124-146

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. E. Roy Weintraub & Evelyn L. Forget, 2007. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 39(5), pages 1-6, Supplemen.
    2. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Masciandaro, Donato, 2007. "Divide et impera: Financial supervision unification and central bank fragmentation effect," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 285-315, June.
    4. de Luna Martinez, Jose & Rose, Thomas A., 2003. "International survey of integrated financial sector supervision," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3096, The World Bank.
    5. Goodhart, Charles & Schoenmaker, Dirk, 1995. "Should the Functions of Monetary Policy and Banking Supervision Be Separated?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 539-560, October.
    6. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    7. Kenneth Kaoma Mwenda, 2006. "Legal Aspects of Financial Services Regulation and the Concept of a Unified Regulator," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6952.
    8. Donato Masciandaro, 2006. "E Pluribus Unum? Authorities' Design in Financial Supervision: Trends and Determinants," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 73-102, January.
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