Central Banking in a Democratic Society

Abstract

This Tinbergen lecture addresses two issues. The first concerns the principles of monetary policy in a low-inflation environment. The second, more fundamental, issue concerns the institutional arrangements by which monetary policy is set in a democratic society. Three conclusions are drawn: (1) Monetary policy matters. Despite some major mistakes, American postwar economic policy has led to far greater stability of the economy. (2) Strategies of opportunistic disinflation or pre-emptive strikes are based on hypotheses for which there is little empirical support. An alternative strategy, called cautious expansionism, would be preferable. (3) A central bank must be accountable and sensitive to democratic processes; there must be more democracy in the choice of decision makers and more representativeness in the governance structure.

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Stiglitz, J. Central Banking in a Democratic Society. De Economist 146, 199–226 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1003272907007

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  • monetary policy
  • central bank independence