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More than the Human Appendix: Fed Capital and Central Bank Financial Independence

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  • Donato Masciandaro

Abstract

In 2002 in reviewing the role of the Federal Reserve System (FED) the United States General Accounting Office declared that” We found no widely accepted, analytically based criteria to show whether a central bank needs capital as a cushion against losses or how the level of such an account should be determined”; the FED capital has become somewhat like the human appendix, an organ whose function is no longer understood (Stella 2009). Is it still true? These short notes address the issue, using a Q&A exposition and taking the occasion the fact that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), has been asked by members of the Congress to study the implications of a recent dividend rate change for Federal Reserve Bank stock and the implications of modifying or eliminating the existing requirement that all member banks purchase stock issued by their respective Federal Reserve Bank.

Suggested Citation

  • Donato Masciandaro, 2016. "More than the Human Appendix: Fed Capital and Central Bank Financial Independence," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1635, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:baf:cbafwp:cbafwp1635
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ricardo Reis, 2017. "QE in the Future: The Central Bank’s Balance Sheet in a Fiscal Crisis," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(1), pages 71-112, April.
    2. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2016. "Designing Central Banks for Inflation Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 11402, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Dieter Gerdesmeier & Francesco Paolo Mongelli & Barbara Roffia, 2007. "The Eurosystem, the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the Bank of Japan: Similarities and Differences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1785-1819, October.
    4. Masciandaro, Donato & Romelli, Davide, 2015. "Ups and downs of central bank independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: theory, institutions and empirics," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(03), pages 259-289, December.
    5. Aleksandra A. Maslowska, 2011. "Quest for the Best: How to Measure Central Bank Independence and Show its Relationship with Inflation," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 132-161, August.
    6. Peter Stella, 2009. "The Federal Reserve System Balance Sheet; What Happened and Why it Matters," IMF Working Papers 09/120, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Seth Carpenter & Jane Ihrig & Elizabeth Klee & Daniel Quinn & Alexander Boote, 2015. "The Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet and Earnings: A Primer and Projections," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(2), pages 237-283, March.
    8. Ricardo Reis, 2016. "QE in the future: the central bank's balance sheet in a financial crisis," Discussion Papers 1620, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    9. Studener, Werner & Merriman, Niall & Karakitsos, Polychronis & Bunea, Daniela, 2016. "Profit distribution and loss coverage rules for central banks," Occasional Paper Series 169, European Central Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve System; Central Bank Independence; Central Bank Capital; Global Crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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