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Monetary policy by committee: Why and how?

  • Blinder, Alan S.

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. Thus the existence of a pronounced worldwide trend is clear. In this paper, I discuss two questions. The first question is why. Why have so many central banks switched from individual to group decisionmaking? The second question is how. How should central banks make decisions and how should they communicate with the public, the government, and the markets?

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 106-123

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:1:p:106-123
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Geraats, P., 2006. "How transparent are central banks?," Other publications TiSEM b34dfb1f-520f-4787-a08f-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. 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.
  3. Alan S. Blinder & Ricardo Reis, 2005. "Understanding the Greenspan Standard," Working Papers 88, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  4. 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.
  5. Anne Sibert, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," DNB Working Papers 091, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.).
  11. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  13. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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