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Too Many Cooks? Committees in Monetary Policy

  • Helge Berger


    (Freie Universität Berlin, Economics Department, Berlin, Germany)

  • Volker Nitsch


    (ETH Zurich, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, Zurich, Switzerland)

How many people should decide about monetary policy? In this paper, we take an empirical perspective on this issue, analyzing the relationship between the number of monetary policy decision-makers and monetary policy outcomes. Using a new data set that characterizes Monetary Policy Committees (MPCs) in more than 30 countries from 1960 through 2000, we find a U-shaped relation between the membership size of MPCs and inflation; our results suggest that the lowest level of inflation is reached at MPCs with about seven to ten members. Similar results are obtained for other measures, such as inflation variability and output growth. We also find that MPC size influences the success of monetary targeting regimes. In contrast, there is no evidence that either turnover rates of MPC members or the membership composition of MPCs affect economic outcomes.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 08-195.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:08-195
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  1. Kiel, Alexandra & Gerling, Kerstin & Schulte, Elisabeth & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: a survey," Working Paper Series 0256, European Central Bank.
  2. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov & Andrew K. Rose, 2007. "Quantitative Goals for Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 1163-1176, 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.
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  5. Fujiki, Hiroshi, 2005. "The Monetary Policy Committee and the Incentive Problem: A Selective Survey," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 23(S1), pages 37-82, October.
  6. Helge Berger, 2002. "The ECB and Euro-Area Enlargement," IMF Working Papers 02/175, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
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  11. Oscar Landerretche & Vittorio Corbo & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2001. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 106, Central Bank of Chile.
  12. Alan S. Blinder, 2008. "On the design of monetary policy committees," Working Paper 2008/06, Norges Bank.
  13. Jan Marc Berk & Beata K. Bierut, 2004. "The Effects of Learning in Interactive Monetary Policy Committees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-029/2, Tinbergen Institute.
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  17. Lombardelli, Clare & James Proudman & James Talbot, 2003. "Committees versus individuals: an experimental analysis of monetary policy decision-making," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 142, Royal Economic Society.
  18. Anne Sibert, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," DNB Working Papers 091, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  19. Cukierman Alex, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, And Independance: Theory And Evidence," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 10, December.
  20. Axel Dreher & Jakob de Haan & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2007. "Does High Inflation Cause Central Bankers to Lose their Job? Evidence Based on a New Data Set," CESifo Working Paper Series 2045, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2001. "Inflation in Developing Countries: Does Central Bank Independence Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 511, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. Eduardo Levy-Yeyati & Federico Sturzenegger, 2003. "To Float or to Fix: Evidence on the Impact of Exchange Rate Regimes on Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1173-1193, September.
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  27. Gohlmann, Silja & Vaubel, Roland, 2007. "The educational and occupational background of central bankers and its effect on inflation: An empirical analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 925-941, May.
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  30. repec:pri:cepsud:153blinder is not listed on IDEAS
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