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Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Size: Theory and Cross Country Evidence

  • Szilárd Erhart
  • Jose Luis Vasquez-Paz

Theoretical and empirical studies of different sciences suggest that an optimal committee consists of roughly 5-9 members, although it can swell mildly under specific circumstances. This paper develops a conceptual model in order to analyze the issue in case of monetary policy formulation. The optimal monetary policy committee (MPC) size varies according to the uncertainty of MPC members’ information influenced by the size of the monetary zone and overall economic stability. Our conceptual model is backed up with econometric evidence using a survey of 85 countries. The MPC size of large monetary zones (EMU, USA, Japan) is close to the estimated optimal level, but there exist several smaller countries with too many or too few MPC members.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers with number 439.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieasw:439
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  1. Gabel, Matthew J. & Shipan, Charles R., 2004. "A social choice approach to expert consensus panels," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 543-564, May.
  2. Anne Sibert, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 145-168, 08.
  3. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2008. "Leadership in Groups: A Monetary Policy Experiment," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(4), pages 117-150, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Berger, Helge, 2005. "Optimal central bank design: benchmarks for the ECB," Discussion Papers 2005/27, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  6. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
  7. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2003. "Boards of directors as an endogenously determined institution: a survey of the economic literature," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 7-26.
  8. Jan Marc Berk & Beata K. Bierut, 2003. "Committee structure and its implications for Monetary policy decision-making," MEB Series (discontinued) 2003-05, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.
  9. Helge Berger & Tonny Lybek & Volker Nitsch, 2006. "Central Bank Boards Around the World: Why Does Membership Size Differ?," IMF Working Papers 06/281, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2000. "Are Two Heads Better Than One?: An Experimental Analysis of Group vs. Individual Decisionmaking," NBER Working Papers 7909, 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. JoAnne Morris & Tonny Lybek, 2004. "Central Bank Governance: A Survey of Boards and Management," IMF Working Papers 04/226, International Monetary Fund.
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