Central Banking

In Christian Borch & Robert Wosnitzer (eds.), Routledge Handbook of critical finance studies. London, UK: pp. 154-172 (2021)
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Before the 2007–2008 global financial crisis, the vast majority of social scientists were not paying much attention to the politics of central banking, despite the fact that, since their creation, central banks have been pivotal institutions between private financial institutions and public authorities (Singleton, 2010). During the past decades, central banks acquired considerable independence from public officials under the Central Bank Independence (CBI) template (McNamara, 2002). Governments justified their decisions to delegate monetary competences by relying on a narrow conception of monetary policy, in which central bankers should only seek to control inflation and ignore the implications of their policies on other economic issues such as financial stability or wealth inequalities (Issing et al., 2001; Marcussen, 2009). Heterodox economists and critical political economists opposed this view by declaring that monetary policy is fundamentally political as it deals with complicated policy trade-offs, which generates winners and losers (Epstein & Gintis, 1995; Forder, 2005). However, until 2007, their concerns were very marginal and remained at the fringes of the political debate. The vast majority of policy-makers, economists, and central bankers themselves agreed on the fact that the CBI template was the optimal institutional arrangement between fiscal and monetary authorities.
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