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Too many Cooks? Committees in Monetary Policy

  • Helge Berger
  • Volker Nitsch

How many people should decide about monetary policy? In this paper, we take an empirical perspective on this issue, analyzing the relationship between the number of monetary policy decision-makers and monetary policy outcomes. Using a new data set that characterizes Monetary Policy Committees (MPCs) in more than 30 countries from 1960 through 2000, we find a U-shaped relation between the membership size of MPCs and inflation; our results suggest that the lowest level of inflation is reached at MPCs with about seven to ten members. Similar results are obtained for other measures, such as inflation variability and output growth. We also find that MPC size influences the success of monetary targeting regimes. In contrast, there is no evidence that either turnover rates of MPC members or the membership composition of MPCs affect economic outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-04/cesifo1_wp2274.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2274.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2274
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  1. RIBONI, Alessandro & RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco, 2006. "The Dynamic (In)efficiency of Monetary Policy by Committee," Cahiers de recherche 2006-02, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Helge Berger & Volker Nitsch & Tonny Lybek, 2007. "Central Bank Boards around the World: Why does Membership Size Differ?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1897, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Frederic Mishkin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2006. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 404, Central Bank of Chile.
  4. Anne Sibert, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," DNB Working Papers 091, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  5. Cukierman Alex, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, And Independance: Theory And Evidence," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 10, December.
  6. Berger, Helge & de Haan, Jakob & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W, 2000. "Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Szilárd Erhart & Jose Luis Vasquez-Paz, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Size: Theory and Cross Country Evidence," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 439, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2007. "Does High Inflation Cause Central Bankers to Lose Their Job? Evidence Based on a New Data Set," KOF Working papers 07-167, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  10. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "Why Does Inflation Differ Across Countries?," NBER Working Papers 5540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2007. "Leadership in Groups: A Monetary Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 13391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian & Rose, Andrew K, 2004. "Quantitative Goals for Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4445, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. von Hagen, Jürgen & Brückner, Matthias, 2001. "Monetary policy in unknown territory: The European Central Bank in the early years," ZEI Working Papers B 18-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  16. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2001. "Inflation in Developing Countries: Does Central Bank Independence Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 511, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Berger, Helge, 2005. "Optimal central bank design: benchmarks for the ECB," Discussion Papers 2005/27, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  18. Alan S. Blinder, 2008. "On the design of monetary policy committees," Working Paper 2008/06, Norges Bank.
  19. Kiel, Alexandra & Gerling, Kerstin & Schulte, Elisabeth & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: a survey," Working Paper Series 0256, European Central Bank.
  20. Fujiki, Hiroshi, 2005. "The Monetary Policy Committee and the Incentive Problem: A Selective Survey," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 23(S1), pages 37-82, October.
  21. Haan, Jakob de & Kooi, Willem J., 2000. "Does central bank independence really matter?: New evidence for developing countries using a new indicator," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 643-664, April.
  22. Szilárd Erhart & Harmen Lehment & Jose L. Vasquez Paz, 2007. "Monetary Policy Committee Size and Inflation Volatility," Kiel Working Papers 1377, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  23. Helge Berger, 2002. "The ECB and Euro-Area Enlargement," IMF Working Papers 02/175, International Monetary Fund.
  24. Eduardo Levy-Yeyati & Federico Sturzenegger, 2003. "To Float or to Fix: Evidence on the Impact of Exchange Rate Regimes on Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1173-1193, September.
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  27. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  28. Gohlmann, Silja & Vaubel, Roland, 2007. "The educational and occupational background of central bankers and its effect on inflation: An empirical analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 925-941, May.
  29. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  30. Jérôme Vandenbussche, 2006. "Elements of Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Design," IMF Working Papers 06/277, International Monetary Fund.
  31. 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.
  32. Jan Marc Berk & Beata K. Bierut, 2004. "The effects of Learning in Interactive Monetary Policy Committees," MEB Series (discontinued) 2004-01, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.
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