Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics: The Myth of Neutrality (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics)

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9781107032613: Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics: The Myth of Neutrality (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics)

Most studies of the political economy of money focus on the laws protecting central banks from government interference; this book turns to the overlooked people who actually make monetary policy decisions. Using formal theory and statistical evidence from dozens of central banks across the developed and developing worlds, this book shows that monetary policy agents are not all the same. Molded by specific professional and sectoral backgrounds and driven by career concerns, central bankers with different career trajectories choose predictably different monetary policies. These differences undermine the widespread belief that central bank independence is a neutral solution for macroeconomic management. Instead, through careful selection and retention of central bankers, partisan governments can and do influence monetary policy - preserving a political trade-off between inflation and real economic performance even in an age of legally independent central banks.

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Book Description:

More than any other institution, central banks manage inflation and unemployment in modern economies. Economists emphasize the role central banks' independence plays in achieving good economic outcomes, but this book shows what really makes the difference is the kind of central bankers a country has. Using game theory and data from dozens of countries, Christopher Adolph shows that central banks run by former bankers keep inflation low, while central banks run by bureaucrats fight unemployment. Governments pick the central bankers they need to get the outcomes they want.

About the Author:

Christopher Adolph is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also a core member of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. He is a former Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research and won the American Political Science Association's Mancur Olson Award for the best dissertation in political economy. His research on comparative political economy and quantitative methods has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Political Analysis, Social Science and Medicine and other academic journals.

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