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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. Jérôme Vandenbussche, 2006. "Elements of Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Design," IMF Working Papers 06/277, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian & Rose, Andrew K, 2004. "Quantitative Goals for Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4445, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Vittorio Corbo & Óscar Landerretche & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2002. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.), Inflation Targeting: Desing, Performance, Challenges, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 5, pages 221-270 Central Bank of Chile.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2007. "Leadership in Groups: A Monetary Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 13391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2007. "Does High Inflation Cause Central Bankers to Lose Their Job? Evidence Based on a New Data Set," KOF Working papers 07-167, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  9. Marta Campillo & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1997. "Why Does Inflation Differ across Countries?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 335-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. RIBONI, Alessandro & RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco, 2006. "The Dynamic (In)efficiency of Monetary Policy by Committee," Cahiers de recherche 2006-02, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  12. Alan S. Blinder, 2007. "On the Design of Monetary Policy Committees," Working Papers 1030, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  13. Szilárd Erhart & Jose Luis Vasquez-Paz, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Size: Theory and Cross Country Evidence," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 439, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  14. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," CEPR Discussion Papers 5626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  17. Helge Berger, 2006. "Optimal central bank design: Benchmarks for the ECB," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 207-235, September.
  18. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2001. "Inflation in Developing Countries: Does Central Bank Independence Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 511, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  20. Helge Berger, 2002. "The ECB and Euro-Area Enlargement," IMF Working Papers 02/175, International Monetary Fund.
  21. Szilard Erhart & Harmen Lehment & Jose Vasquez Paz, 2010. "Monetary policy committee size and inflation volatility," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-421, December.
  22. 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.
  23. Haan, Jakob de & Kooi, Willem J., 2000. "Does central bank independence really matter?: New evidence for developing countries using a new indicator," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 643-664, April.
  24. Jan Marc Berk & Beata K. Bierut, 2004. "The effects of Learning in Interactive Monetary Policy Committees," MEB Series (discontinued) 2004-01, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.
  25. Berger, Helge & de Haan, Jakob & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W, 2000. "Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. 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.
  27. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
  28. repec:dgr:uvatin:2004029 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. von Hagen, Jürgen & Brückner, Matthias, 2001. "Monetary policy in unknown territory: The European Central Bank in the early years," ZEI Working Papers B 18-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  30. 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.
  31. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
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