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Central banks and financial crises

  • Willem H. Buiter

The paper draws lessons from the experience of the past year for the conduct of central banks in the pursuit of macroeconomic and financial stability. Macroeconomic stability is defined as either price stability or as price stability and sustainable output or employment growth. Financial stability refers to (1) the absence of asset price bubbles, (2) the prevention or mitigation of systemically significant funding illiquidity and market illiquidity and (3) the prevention of insolvency of systemically important financial institutions. The performance of the Fed, the ECB and the Bank of England is evaluated in terms of these criteria. The Fed is judged to have done worst both as regards macroeconomic stability and as regards one of the two time dimensions of financial stability: minimizing the likelihood and severity of future financial crises. As regards ‘putting out fires’ (dealing with the immediate crisis), the Bank of England gets the wooden spoon for its early failure to perform the lender of last resort and market maker of last resort roles.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 24438.

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Length: 152 pages
Date of creation: 14 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:24438
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  1. Timothy Cogley, 1998. "A simple adaptive measure of core inflation," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. James Dolmas, 2005. "Trimmed mean PCE inflation," Working Papers 0506, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Buiter, Willem H., 2009. "Housing wealth isn't wealth," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-56, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Levine, Michael E & Forrence, Jennifer L, 1990. "Regulatory Capture, Public Interest, and the Public Agenda: Toward a Synthesis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 167-98.
  5. Epstein, Gerald & Ferguson, Thomas, 1984. "Monetary Policy, Loan Liquidation, and Industrial Conflict: The Federal Reserve and the Open Market Operations of 1932," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(04), pages 957-983, December.
  6. Willem H. Buiter, 2004. "The Elusive Welfare Economics of Price Stability as a Monetary Policy Objective: Should New Keynesian Central Bankers Pursue Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 10848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency : Gesell's solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Michael T. Kiley, 2008. "Estimating the common trend rate of inflation for consumer prices and consumer prices excluding food and energy prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-38, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Should Central Banks Respond to Movements in Asset Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 253-257, May.
  11. anonymous, 2008. "Central to ..," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 2-15.
  12. Coelho, Philip R. P. & Santoni, G. J., 1991. "Regulatory Capture and the Monetary Contraction of 1932: A Comment on Epstein and Ferguson," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 182-189, March.
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