Theories arguing that independent, transparent central banks fight inflation better are widely accepted, but the evidence backing them is surprisingly scarce. This column presents new empirical estimates suggesting a payoff to central bank independence and transparency.
Christopher Crowe, Ellen Meade, 31 July 2008
Christopher Crowe, Ellen Meade, 27 July 2008
The European Central Bank is under fire from Nicholas Sarkozy. This column introduces a new set of measures of central bank independence and transparency, which shows that the ECB is markedly more transparent than the Eurozone members’ central banks were in the 1990s.
Willem Buiter, 18 July 2008
Willem Buiter talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the financial crisis, the global cyclical slowdown and the rise of inflation. He discusses central banks’ responses to the credit crunch and calls on them to tighten monetary policy to counter the inflationary threat.
Ellen Meade, David Stasavage, 26 June 2008
Central banks are increasingly transparent but is the spotlight is stifling? Analysis of FOMC transcripts before and after Committee members knew that they would be published shows how transparency deadened the debate and reduced the number of challenges to Greenspan’s position.
Charles Goodhart, 24 June 2008
Central banks cannot achieve price and financial stability with one instrument (interest rates). A counter-cyclical regulatory system is needed to dampen asset booms and to smooth busting bubbles. To use such macro-prudential instruments effectively, regulators need courage, quantitative triggers, and independence; they will be criticised by lenders, borrowers and politicians in both booms and busts.
Guido Tabellini, 23 June 2008
The ECB and the Fed are pursuing very different policies on inflation fighting and the use of monetary aggregates in guiding policy. One of Italy’s leading economists argues that either the ECB or the Fed is making a mistake.
Camille Cornand, Frank Heinemann, 27 May 2008
Central banks and international institutions often call for greater transparency in financial markets. This column argues, however, that in a context where central banks make inevitable forecast errors, it is efficient for central banks to disseminate information to only a limited audience.
Willem Buiter, 17 May 2008
In CEPR Policy Insight No.24, Willem Buiter asks: Does it matter if a central bank suffers a large capital loss? Can the central bank become insolvent? How and by whom should the central bank be recapitalised, should its capital be deemed insufficient?
Richard Baldwin, 08 May 2010
This column, first posted 17 May 2008, reviews Willem Buiter's analysis of why the ECB is so hesitant to buy debt. Central banks can go broke – and some in developing countries have done so recently. The ECB is now lending against dubious collateral. An ECB recapitalisation seems unthinkable at the moment, but that’s why it is a good time to think the unthinkable. Willem Buiter considers the question at length in CEPR Policy Insight No. 24 and argues that Eurozone fiscal authorities should, ASAP, agree on a formula for fiscal burden-sharing should an ECB recapitalisation ever be necessary.
Alan Blinder, Michael Ehrmann, Marcel Fratzscher, Jakob de Haan, David-Jan Jansen, 15 May 2008
Central banking has undergone dramatic change in recent decades, and many banks now favour transparency in communicating their policies and forecasts. What does this mean? This column argues that our understanding of the role of central bank communication is still in its infancy and it remains unclear what constitutes an optimal communication strategy for central banks.
Luigi Spaventa, 07 May 2008
A prolonged situation of financial distress, which has now lasted for almost a year, is debilitating the financial system. In CEPR Policy Insight 22, Luigi Spaventa examines possible solutions to the immediate and urgent problems.
Luigi Spaventa, 08 May 2008
The global financial system may be caught in a downward spiral as market and funding illiquidity reinforce each other. The author of CEPR Policy Insight 22 presents a radical proposal that would break the feedback loop by not valuing illiquid assets at market prices under crisis conditions.
Javier Suarez, 27 March 2008
In a new CEPR Policy Insight, Javier Suarez proposes the creation of an Emergency Bank Debt Insurance Mechanism as an alternative to the massive lending of last resort operations undertaken by central banks since the start of the subprime crisis.
Xavier Vives, 31 March 2008
The current crisis is a modern form of a traditional banking crisis. The 125-year-old Bagehot's doctrine tells us how governments should react – lend to solvent but illiquid financial institutions. While easy to state, the doctrine is hard to apply. The key question to assess the future consequences of current central bank policy is whether the subprime mortgage crisis arises in the context of a moderate or a severe underlying moral hazard problem.
Tommaso Monacelli, 20 March 2008
Inflation is rising. This column identifies three sources of inflation and argues that it is very important for central banks to tame inflation now, before we face a vicious cycle of rising inflation and expected inflation.
Katrin Assenmacher-Wesche, Stefan Gerlach, 12 March 2008
Many observers have argued that central banks should use monetary policy to prevent the rise of asset price bubbles. Recent research shows that monetary policy is too costly and too slow to serve such a role.
Stephen Cecchetti, 03 December 2007
The final essay examines whether central bank actions have created moral hazard, encouraging asset managers to take on more risk than is in society’s interest; the answer is “no”.
Stephen Cecchetti, 30 November 2007
The third essay in this 4-part series argues that central banks should have a direct role in financial supervision.
Paul De Grauwe, 14 November 2007
Inflation targeting proponents view central banks’ responsibilities as minimalist. But the subprime crisis shows that central banks cannot avoid taking responsibilities that include the prevention of bubbles and the supervision of all institutions that are in the business of creating credit and liquidity.
Willem Buiter, Anne Sibert, 13 August 2007
Last week's actions by the ECB, the Fed and the Bank of Japan were not particularly helpful – a classic example of trying to manage a credit crisis or liquidity squeeze using the tools suited to monetary policy-making in orderly markets. Monetary policy is easy; preventing or overcoming a financial crisis is hard; managing the exit from a credit squeeze without laying the foundations for the next credit and liquidity explosion is harder still. Central bankers should earn their keep by acting as market makers of last resort.