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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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  2. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central bank boards around the world: Why does membership size differ?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 817-832, December.
  3. Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2007. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 9, pages 291-372 Central Bank of Chile.
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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Helge Berger, 2006. "Optimal central bank design: Benchmarks for the ECB," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 207-235, September.
  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. Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Haan, Jakob de, 2001. "Inflation in developing countries: does Central Bank independence matter?," CCSO Working Papers 200101, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  11. Szilárd Erhart & Jose-Luis Vasquez-Paz, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy committee size: Theory and cross country evidence," MNB Working Papers 2007/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  12. 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.
  13. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Berger, Helge & de Haan, Jakob & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W, 2001. " Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 3-40, February.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  22. 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.
  23. Jérôme Vandenbussche, 2006. "Elements of Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Design," IMF Working Papers 06/277, International Monetary Fund.
  24. 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.
  25. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian & Rose, Andrew K, 2004. "Quantitative Goals for Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4445, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. 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.
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  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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