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Delayed Doves: MPC Voting Behaviour of Externals

  • Stephen Hansen
  • Michael F. McMahon

The use of independent committees for the setting of interest rates, such as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at the Bank of England, is quickly becoming the norm in developed economies. In this paper we examine the issue of appointing external members (members who are outside the staff of the central bank) to these committees. We construct a model of MPC voting behaviour, and show that members who begin voting for similar interest rates should not systematically diverge from each other at any future point. However, econometric results in fact show that external members initially vote in line with internal members, but after a year, begin voting for substantially lower interest rates. The robustness of this effect to including member fixed effects provides strong evidence that externals behave differently from internals because of institutional differences between the groups, and not some unobserved heterogeneity. We then examine whether career concerns can explain these findings, and conclude that they cannot.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0862.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0862
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  1. Sibert, Anne, 2001. "Monetary Policy With Uncertain Central Bank Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 3113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Christopher Spencer, 2006. "The Dissent Voting Behaviour of Bank of England MPC Members," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0306, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  3. 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.
  4. Sean Holly & Arnab Bhattacharjee, 2005. "Inflation Targeting, Committee Decision Making and Uncertainty: The case of the Bank of England's MPC," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 119, Society for Computational Economics.
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  13. Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988. "Herd behavior and investment," Working papers WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  14. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2009. "Outsiders at the Bank of England's MPC," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1099-1115, 09.
  15. 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.
  16. Timothy Besley & Neil Meads & Paolo Surico, 2008. "Insiders versus outsiders in monetary policymaking," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33743, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
  18. Mark N. Harris & Christopher Spencer, 2009. "The Policy Choices and Reaction Functions of Bank of England MPC Members," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 482-499, October.
  19. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  20. Arnab Bhattacharjee & Sean Holly, 2006. "Taking Personalities out of Monetary Policy Decision Making? Interactions, Heterogeneity and Committee Decisions in the Bank of England’s MPC," CDMA Working Paper Series 200612, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
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