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Governing the Governors: A Clinical Study of Central Banks

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  • Frisell, Lars
  • Roszbach, Kasper F.
  • Spagnolo, Giancarlo

Abstract

Recent research on central bank governance has focused mainly on their monetary policy task. As the sub-prime loan market turmoil reminded us - central banks play a crucial role in financial markets not only in setting monetary policy, but also in ensuring their soundness and stability. In this paper we study the specific corporate governance structures of a number of central banks in light of their complex role of inflation guardians, bankers’ banks, financial industry regulators/supervisors and, in some cases, competition authorities and deposit insurance agencies. We review their current institutional arrangements, e.g. formal objectives, ownership, board and governor appointment rules, term limits and compensation, using both existing surveys and newly collected information; and we contrast them with the structures suggested in the corporate and public governance literatures, where present. Our analysis highlights a striking variety in central bank governance structures and a number of specific issues that appear unsatisfactorily addressed by existing research, including the incentive structure for governor and board members, the balance between central banks’ multiple objectives, and the need for term limits or post-employment restrictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Frisell, Lars & Roszbach, Kasper F. & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Governing the Governors: A Clinical Study of Central Banks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6888
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    2. 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(3), pages 259-289, December.
    3. William B.P. Robson, 2009. "To the Next Level: From Gold Standard to Inflation Targets - to Price Stability?," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 285, March.
    4. Masciandaro, D. & Nieto, M. & Prast, H.M., 2007. "Financial Governance of Banking Supervision," Other publications TiSEM 65d7ff26-dca3-4da3-86ff-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. D. Masciandaro, 2019. "What Bird Is That? Central Banking And Monetary Policy In The Last Forty Years," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 19127, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    6. Fraccaroli, Nicolò, 2019. "Supervisory governance, capture and non‑performing loans," Bank of England working papers 820, Bank of England.
    7. Mrs. Marie T Dal Corso & Mr. Tonny Lybek & Mr. Kenneth Sullivan, 2007. "Audit Committees in Central Banks," IMF Working Papers 2007/073, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Fraccaroli, Nicolò & Giovannini, Alessandro & Jamet, Jean-Francois, 2020. "Central banks in parliaments: a text analysis of the parliamentary hearings of the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve," Working Paper Series 2442, European Central Bank.
    9. Clare Leaver, 2007. "Bureaucratic Minimal Squawk Behavior: Theory and Evidence from Regulatory Agencies," Economics Series Working Papers 344, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Mr. Ulrich H Klueh & Mr. Peter Stella, 2008. "Central Bank Financial Strength and Policy Performance: An Econometric Evaluation," IMF Working Papers 2008/176, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Marc Quintyn, 2009. "Independent agencies: more than a cheap copy of independent central banks?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 267-295, September.
    12. Michael Koetter & Kasper Roszbach & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2014. "Financial Stability and Central Bank Governance," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(4), pages 31-68, December.
    13. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2018. "To Be or not to Be a Euro Country? The Behavioural Political Economics of Currency Unions," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1883, 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; bank regulation; board structure; central bank independence; central banks; cooling-off periods; governance; governor remuneration; regulatory capture; term limits;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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