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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. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Alan S. Blinder, 2008. "On the design of monetary policy committees," Working Paper 2008/06, Norges Bank.
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  16. repec:pri:cepsud:153blinder is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2008. "Leadership in Groups: A Monetary Policy Experiment," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(4), pages 117-150, December.
  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.
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  22. 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.
  23. 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, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
  24. 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 (Central Bank of Hungary).
  25. Anne Sibert, 2006. "Central Banking by Committee," DNB Working Papers 091, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Dreher, Axel & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & de Haan, Jakob, 2008. "Does high inflation cause central bankers to lose their job? Evidence based on a new data set," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 778-787, December.
  30. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Central bank independence and inflation: good news and bad news," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 215-219, November.
  31. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  32. 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.
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