Introduction: the role of central banks in economic development with an emphasis on the recent Argentinean experience
Almost all of the papers presented in this special issue were part of the annual conferences of the Banco Central de la RepÃºblica Argentina (BCRA) during the last couple of years, or are variations on the topics on which the authors presented during the Bank's Annual Conference. They share a common theme, one that is relevant for the recent Argentinean experience, but that is also important for many developing countries, since it puts into question the role of central banks in the process of development. The papers suggest that central banks historically were not limited to fighting inflation and have, under certain circumstances, been relevant in promoting a broad process of development with price stability. 1 Throughout the history of central banking both in advanced and developing countries, financing governments, managing exchange rates, and supporting the productive sectors by using direct methods of intervention have been among the most important tasks of central banking and, indeed, in many cases, were among the reasons for their existence. The conventional independent central bank concerned only with inflation is, in a sense, radically out of step with the history and practice of central banking throughout most of its history.
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