IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ucd/wpaper/201052.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gordon Unbound: The Heresthetic of Central Bank Independence in Britain

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastián Dellepiane Avellaneda

    (Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp)

Abstract

This article combines theory and historical narratives to shed new light on the politics surrounding the making of central bank independence in contemporary Britain. Its central argument is that Gordon Brown’s decision to rewrite the British monetary constitution in May 1997 constituted an act of political manipulation in a Rikerian sense. The institutional change involved can be conceptualized as a heresthetic move, that is, structuring the process of the political game so you can win. The incoming government removed a difficult issue from the realm of party politics in order to signal competence and enforce internal discipline in the context of a government that was moving toward the right. But building on Elster’s constraint theory, the paper argues that the institutional reform was not a case of self-binding in an intentional sense. Rather, Brown adopted a precommitment strategy that was aimed at binding others, including members of his government. The reform had dual consequences: it was not only constraining, it was also enabling. The institutionalization of discipline enabled New Labour to achieve key economic and political goals. By revisiting the political rationality of precommitment, this paper questions the dominant credibility story underlying the choice of monetary and fiscal institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastián Dellepiane Avellaneda, 2010. "Gordon Unbound: The Heresthetic of Central Bank Independence in Britain," Working Papers 201052, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201052
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201052.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. David de la Croix & Frederic Docquier, 2015. "An Incentive Mechanism to Break the Low-skill Immigration Deadlock," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, pages 593-618.
    5. David A. Jaeger & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Holger Bonin, 2010. "Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 684-689, August.
    6. Cary Deck & Jungmin Lee & Javier Reyes, 2008. "Risk attitudes in large stake gambles: evidence from a game show," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 41-52.
    7. repec:feb:framed:0019 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201052. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Geary Tech). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/geucdie.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.