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Too many cooks? Committees in monetary policy

  • Berger, Helge
  • Nitsch, Volker

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 decisionmakers 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 Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2008/8.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:20088
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  1. Szilárd Erhart & Harmen Lehment & Jose L. Vasquez Paz, 2007. "Monetary Policy Committee Size and Inflation Volatility," Kiel Working Papers 1377, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. RIBONI, Alessandro & RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco, 2006. "The Dynamic (In)efficiency of Monetary Policy by Committee," Cahiers de recherche 02-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  5. 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.
  6. Helge Berger, 2006. "Optimal Central Bank Design: Benchmarks for the ECB," CESifo Working Paper Series 1697, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Alan S. Blinder, 2007. "On the Design of Monetary Policy Committees," Working Papers 1030, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  8. 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.
  9. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central Bank boards around the world: Why does membership size differ?," Discussion Papers 2008/5, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Jérôme Vandenbussche, 2006. "Elements of Optimal Monetary Policy Committee Design," IMF Working Papers 06/277, International Monetary Fund.
  13. 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.
  14. repec:dgr:uvatin:2004029 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. repec:dgr:uvatin:20040029 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Clare Lombardelli & James Proudman & James Talbot, 2005. "Committees Versus Individuals: An Experimental Analysis of Monetary Policy Decision-Making," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," CEPR Discussion Papers 5626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  21. 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.
  22. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2001. "Inflation in Developing Countries: Does Central Bank Independence Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 511, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2007. "Leadership in Groups: A Monetary Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 13391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  27. 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.
  28. Helge Berger, 2002. "The ECB and Euro-Area Enlargement," IMF Working Papers 02/175, International Monetary Fund.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. Lombardelli, Clare & Proudman, James & Talbot, James, 2005. "Committees Versus Individuals: An Experimental Analysis of Monetary Policy Decision Making," MPRA Paper 823, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  33. 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.
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