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Political Voice on Monetary Policy: Evidence from the Parliamentary Hearings of the European Central Bank

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  • Federico M. Ferrara
  • Donato Masciandaro
  • Manuela Moschella
  • Davide Romelli

Abstract

Previous scholarship on central bank accountability has generally focused on monetary authorities' deeds and words while largely ignoring the other side of the accountability relationship, namely politicians’ voice on monetary policy. This raises a fundamental question: what are central banks held accountable for by elected officials? To answer this question, we employ structural topic models on a new dataset of the Monetary Dialogues between the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) from 1999 to 2019. Our findings are twofold. First, we uncover differences in how MEPs keep the ECB accountable for its primary, price stability objective. We show that European politicians also attempt to keep the central bank accountable for a broader set of issues that are connected with, but distinct from, the central bank's primary goal. Second, we show that unemployment is a key explanatory variable for the political voice articulated by individual MEPs in accountability settings. In particular, higher rates of domestic unemployment lead MEPs to devote less voice on issues related to the ECB’s price stability mission. These findings reveal the existence of a "political" Phillips curve reaction function, which enriches our understanding of the principal-agent accountability relationship between politicians and central bankers.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico M. Ferrara & Donato Masciandaro & Manuela Moschella & Davide Romelli, 2021. "Political Voice on Monetary Policy: Evidence from the Parliamentary Hearings of the European Central Bank," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 21159, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:baf:cbafwp:cbafwp21159
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    Cited by:

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    3. Nicolò Fraccaroli & Alessandro Giovannini & Jean-François Jamet & Eric Persson, 2023. "Central Banks in Parliaments: A Text Analysis of the Parliamentary Hearings of the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 19(2), pages 543-600, June.
    4. Fraccaroli, Nicolò & Giovannini, Alessandro & Jamet, Jean-Francois & Persson, Eric, 2022. "Does the European Central Bank speak differently when in parliament?," Working Paper Series 2705, European Central Bank.
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    7. Jie Hao & Viet T. Pham, 2022. "COVID‐19 Disclosures and Market Uncertainty: Evidence from 10‐Q Filings," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 238-266, June.
    8. Angino, Siria & Robitu, Robert, 2023. "One question at a time! A text mining analysis of the ECB Q&A session," Working Paper Series 2852, European Central Bank.
    9. Hugo Oriola & Matthieu Picault, 2023. "Opportunistic Political Central Bank Coverage: Does media coverage of ECB's Monetary Policy Impacts German Political Parties' Popularity?," EconomiX Working Papers 2023-30, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    10. Fontan, Clément & Goutsmedt, Aurélien, 2023. "The ECB and the inflation monsters: strategic framing and the responsibility imperative (1998-2023)," SocArXiv 92r54, Center for Open Science.
    11. Carolina Guerini & Donato Masciandaro, 2023. "Financial Education between Market and State: Private Commitment, Conflicts of Interest and Public Certification," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 23213, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    12. Ferrara, Federico Maria & Angino, Siria, 2022. "Does clarity make central banks more engaging? Lessons from ECB communications," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    13. Fraccaroli, Nicolò & Giovannini, Alessandro & Jamet, Jean-François & Persson, Eric, 2022. "Ideology and monetary policy. The role of political parties’ stances in the European Central Bank’s parliamentary hearings," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    14. Dimitrios Kanelis & Pierre L. Siklos, 2022. "Emotion in Euro Area Monetary Policy Communication and Bond Yields: The Draghi Era," CQE Working Papers 10322, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    15. Donato Masciandaro, 2023. "Politicians, Trust, Financial Literacy and Financial Education: When Do Politicians Care?," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 23208, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    16. Federico M. Ferrara & Donato Masciandaro & Manuela Moschella & Davide Romelli, 2023. "What do politicians think of technocratic institutions? Experimental Evidence on the European Central Bank," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 23201, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accountability; European Central Bank; politicians; European Parliament;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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