Monetary Policy by Committee: Why and How?
Among the most notable, but least discussed, hallmarks of what I have called the quiet revolution in central banking practice (Blinder, 2004a) has been the movement toward making monetary policy decisions by committee. Until about a decade ago, most central banks had a single governor, who might or might not have been independent of the rest of the government. But since then, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Brazil, to name just a few, have opted to establish monetary policy committees (MPCs). In addition, the committee-based ECB replaced 12 central banks, most of which had previously been run by individual governors. I am unaware of any case in which a country replaced an MPC by a single decisionmaker. In fact, a recent survey by Pollard (2004) found that 79 out of 88 central banks made monetary policy by committee. Thus the existence of a pronounced worldwide trend is clear. So the first question for this paper is why. Why have so many central banks switched from individual to group decisionmaking?
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