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Governing the Governors: A Clinical Study of Central Banks

Author

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  • Frisell, Lars

    (Financial Stability Department, Central Bank of Sweden)

  • Roszbach, Kasper

    (Research Department, Central Bank of Sweden)

  • spagnolo, giancarlo

    (University of Rome)

Abstract

We study the specific corporate governance problems of central banks in their complex role of inflation guardians, bankers’ banks, financial industry regulators/supervisors and, in some cases, competition authorities and deposit insurance agencies. We review the current institutional arrangements of a number of central banks, e.g. formal objectives, ownership, board and governor appointment rules, term limits and compensation, using both existing surveys and newly collected information. Research on central bank governance appears to have focused almost only on their monetary policy task. As shown by the sub-prime loan market turmoil, central banks play a crucial role in financial markets not only in setting monetary policy, but also in ensuring their stability. In this paper, we contrast the current governance practices at central banks with the structures suggested in the corporate governance literature. Our analysis highlights a number of specific issues that appear to have been unsatisfactorily addressed by existing research, such as the incentive structure for governors and board members, the balance between central banks’ multiple objectives and the need for term limits.

Suggested Citation

  • Frisell, Lars & Roszbach, Kasper & spagnolo, giancarlo, 2008. "Governing the Governors: A Clinical Study of Central Banks," Working Paper Series 221, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:rbnkwp:0221
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    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. Donato Masciandaro, 2016. "More than the Human Appendix: Fed Capital and Central Bank Financial Independence," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1635, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Clare Leaver, 2007. "Bureaucratic Minimal Squawk Behavior: Theory and Evidence from Regulatory Agencies," Economics Series Working Papers 344, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Fraccaroli, Nicolò, 2019. "Supervisory governance, capture and non‑performing loans," Bank of England working papers 820, Bank of England.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    accountability; bank regulation; board structure; central banks; corporate governance; central bank independence; governor remuneration; 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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