French Politics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 294–320 | Cite as

European Central Bank leaders in the global space of central bankers: A Geometric Data Analysis approach

  • Frédéric Lebaron
Symposium Article


In this article, we analyse the space of the world's central bankers since the second half of the 1990s on the basis of a collection of public biographical data. The world's central bankers compose a global ‘reference space’ for the study of ECB leaders. ECB leaders are distinctive in certain dimensions of this space, especially in relation to the Asian (Japanese and Chinese) central bankers and, although to lesser extent, in relation to the US Federal Open Market Committee members. These distinctions relate to the properties of two different sub-groups of ECB members of the Governing Council: one group composed of the members of the executive board, and another comprising the governors of the national central banks. This article stresses the methodological use of Geometric Data Analysis when applying a multi-level and sociological perspective to the central bank's decisions and discourses: in the process of examining the relevant social space, this approach allows us to study the inter-individual social variations between agents at a micro-level and to analyse institutional differences in behaviour as a probable consequence of these variations. Monetary strategies and economic discourses of central banks are analysed as the probabilistic products of a combination of individuals’ orientations, which in turn are the results of variations in their biographical experiences, based on different cultural and cognitive dispositions.


ECB central banks Geometric Data Analysis biographical data 



Our thanks go to Didier Georgakakis (Professor of Political Science, IUF/GSPE) who supported us at different stages of this text, to Karin Darin (Researcher, CURAPP), who was associated with the data collection and the revisions of the text, and to two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Lebaron
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Picardie – Jules Verne, CURAPP UMR, CNRS 6054, Pole Universitaire Cathedrale 10Amiens Cedex 1France

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