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Social trust and central-bank independence


  • Berggren, Niclas

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov

    () (HUI Research)

  • Hellström, Jörgen

    (Umea School of Business and Economics)


Central banks have been made more independent in many countries. A common rationale has been the existence of a credibility (or lack-of-trust) problem for monetary policy. This indicates a possible and until now unexplored link between social trust and central-bank independence. Our empirical findings, based on data from 149 countries, confirm that there is such a link, in the form of a u-shaped relationship. We suggest that two factors help explain this finding: the need for this kind of reform and the ability with which it can be implemented. At low trust levels, the need for central-bank independence is strong enough to dominate the low ability; at high trust levels the ability for reform is high and dominates the low need; at intermediate trust levels there is neither need nor ability strong enough to generate very independent central banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Berggren, Niclas & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Hellström, Jörgen, 2012. "Social trust and central-bank independence," HUI Working Papers 66, HUI Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:huiwps:0066

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    Cited by:

    1. 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(03), pages 259-289, December.
    2. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2015. "Ups and Downs. Central Bank Independence from the Great Inflation to the Great Recession: Theory, Institutions and Empirics," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1503, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    3. Masciandaro, Donato & Volpicella, Alessio, 2016. "Macro prudential governance and central banks: Facts and drivers," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 101-119.
    4. Etienne Farvaque & Muhammad Azmat Hayat & Alexander Mihailov, 2017. "Who Supports the ECB? Evidence from Eurobarometer Survey Data," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 654-677, April.
    5. Berggren, Niclas & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Hellström, Jörgen, 2016. "Does social trust speed up reforms? The case of central-bank independence," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 395-415, June.
    6. Berggren, Niclas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2017. "The Market-Promoting and Market-Preserving Role of Social Trust in Reforms of Policies and Institutions," Working Paper Series 1152, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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    9. Leibrecht, Markus & Pitlik, Hans, 2015. "Social trust, institutional and political constraints on the executive and deregulation of markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 249-268.
    10. Winifred Huang-Meier & Neophytos Lambertides & James M. Steeley, 2016. "Motives for corporate cash holdings: the CEO optimism effect," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 699-732, October.
    11. Markus Leibrecht & Hans Pitlik, 2014. "Generalised Trust, Institutional and Political Constraints on the Executive and Deregulation of Markets," WIFO Working Papers 481, WIFO.
    12. Roman Horvath & Dominika Katuscakova, 2016. "Transparency and trust: the case of the European Central Bank," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(57), pages 5625-5638, December.
    13. Dalla Pellegrina, L. & Masciandaro, D. & Pansini, R.V., 2013. "The central banker as prudential supervisor: Does independence matter?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 415-427.
    14. Liu, Yuna, 2016. "Trust and stock market correlation: a cross-country analysis," Umeå Economic Studies 924, Umeå University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Social trust; central-bank independence;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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