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A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages a "state's "currency, "money supply, and "interest rates. Central banks also usually oversee the "commercial banking system of their respective countries. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a "monopoly on increasing the "monetary base in the state, and usually also prints the national currency,[1] which usually serves as the state's "legal tender. Central banks also act as a ""lender of last resort" to the "banking sector during times of "financial crisis. Most central banks usually also have supervisory and regulatory powers to ensure the solvency of member institutions, prevent "bank runs, and prevent reckless or fraudulent behavior by member banks.

Central banks in most developed nations are institutionally designed to be independent from political interference.[2][3] Still, limited control by the executive and legislative bodies usually exists.[4][5]



Early history[edit]

The use of "money predates history. Government control of money is documented in the "ancient Egyptian economy (2750-2150 BC).[6] The Egyptians measured the value of goods with a central unit called shat. As many other currencies, the shat was linked to "gold. The value of a shat in terms of goods was defined by government administrations. Other cultures in "Asia Minor later materialised their currencies in the form of gold and silver "coins.[7]

In the "medieval and the "early modern period a network of professional "banks was established in "Southern and "Central Europe.[8] The institutes built a new tier in the financial economy. The monetary system was still controlled by government institutions, mainly through the coinage prerogative. Banks, however, could use book money to create "deposits for their customers. Thus, they had the possibility to issue, lend and transfer money autonomously without direct governmental control.

In order to consolidate the monetary system, a network of public exchange banks was established at the beginning of the 17th century in main European trade centres. The "Amsterdam Wisselbank was founded as a first institute in 1609. Further exchange banks were located in "Hamburg, "Venice and "Nuremberg. The institutes offered a public infrastructure for cashless international payments.[9] They aimed to increase the efficiency of international trade and to safeguard monetary stability. The exchange banks thus fulfilled comparable functions to modern central banks.[10] The institutes even issued their own (book) currency, called Mark Banco.

Bank of Amsterdam (Amsterdamsche Wisselbank)[edit]

The old town hall in Amsterdam where the "Bank of Amsterdam was founded in 1609, painting by "Pieter Saenredam.

In the early modern period, the Dutch were pioneering financial innovators who developed many advanced techniques and helped lay the foundations of modern financial system.[11][12][13][14] The Bank of Amsterdam ("Amsterdam Wisselbank), established in the "Dutch Republic in 1609, is often considered to be a forerunner to modern central banks.[15][16][17] The Wisselbank's innovations helped lay the foundations for the birth and development of the central banking system that now plays a vital role in the world's economy.[18][19][20][21] Along with a number of subsidiary local banks, it performed many functions of a "central banking system.[22] It occupied a central position in the financial world of its day, providing an effective, efficient and trusted system for national and international payments, and introduced the first ever "international reserve currency, the "bank guilder. Lucien Gillard (2004) calls it the European guilder (le florin européen),[23] and Adam Smith devotes several pages to explaining how the bank guilder works (Smith 1776: 446-455). The model of the Wisselbank as a "state bank was adapted throughout Europe, including the "Bank of Sweden (1668) and the "Bank of England (1694).

Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank)[edit]

Established by Dutch-Latvian "Johan Palmstruch in 1668, "Sveriges Riksbank ("Bank of Sweden) is often considered by many as the world's oldest central bank.

Bank of England[edit]

The sealing of the Bank of England Charter (1694).

The establishment of the "Bank of England, the model on which most modern central banks have been based, was devised by "Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, in 1694, following a proposal by the banker "William Paterson three years earlier, which had not been acted upon.[24] In the "Kingdom of England in the 1690s, public funds were in short supply, and the credit of "William III's government was so low in London that it was impossible for it to borrow the £1,200,000 (at 8 percent) needed to finance the ongoing "Nine Years' War with France. In order to induce subscription to the loan, Montagu proposed that the subscribers were to be "incorporated as The Governor and Company of the Bank of England with long-term banking privileges including the issue of notes. The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and also issue notes against the government bonds, which could be lent again. A "Royal Charter was granted on 27 July through the passage of the "Tonnage Act 1694.[25] The bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue "banknotes.[26]["page needed] The £1.2M was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the Navy.

The "Bank of England, established in 1694.

Although this establishment of the Bank of England marks the origin of central banking, it did not have the functions of a modern central bank, namely, to regulate the value of the national currency, to finance the government, to be the sole authorised distributor of banknotes, and to function as a 'lender of last resort' to banks suffering a "liquidity crisis. These modern central banking functions evolved slowly through the 18th and 19th centuries.[27]

Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system. The "currency crisis of 1797, caused by panicked depositors withdrawing from the Bank led to the government suspending convertibility of notes into specie payment. The bank was soon accused by the "bullionists of causing the "exchange rate to fall from over issuing banknotes, a charge which the Bank denied. Nevertheless, it was clear that the Bank was being treated as an organ of the state.["citation needed]

"Henry Thornton, a "merchant banker and monetary theorist has been described as the father of the modern central bank. An opponent of the "real bills doctrine, he was a defender of the bullionist position and a significant figure in monetary theory. Thornton's process of monetary expansion anticipated the theories of "Knut Wicksell regarding the "cumulative process which restates the Quantity Theory in a theoretically coherent form". As a response to the 1797 currency crisis, Thornton wrote in 1802 "An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain, in which he argued that the increase in paper credit did not cause the crisis. The book also gives a detailed account of the British monetary system as well as a detailed examination of the ways in which the Bank of England should act to counteract fluctuations in the value of the pound.[28]

"Walter Bagehot, an influential theorist on the economic role of the central bank.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, commercial banks were able to issue their own banknotes, and notes issued by provincial banking companies were commonly in circulation.[29] Many consider the origins of the central bank to lie with the passage of the "Bank Charter Act of 1844.[27] Under this law, authorisation to issue new banknotes was restricted to the Bank of England. At the same time, the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt. The Act served to restrict the supply of new notes reaching circulation, and gave the Bank of England an effective monopoly on the printing of new notes.[30]

The Bank accepted the role of 'lender of last resort' in the 1870s after criticism of its lacklustre response to the "Overend-Gurney crisis. The journalist "Walter Bagehot wrote on the subject in "Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market, in which he advocated for the Bank to officially become a "lender of last resort during a "credit crunch, sometimes referred to as "Bagehot's dictum". "Paul Tucker phrased the dictum in 2009 as follows:

…to avert panic, central banks should lend early and freely (ie without limit), to solvent firms, against good collateral, and at 'high rates'.[31]

Spread around the world[edit]

Central banks were established in many European countries during the 19th century. The "War of the Second Coalition led to the creation of the "Banque de France in 1800, in an effort to improve the public financing of the war.

Although central banks today are generally associated with "fiat money, the 19th and early 20th centuries central banks in most of Europe and "Japan developed under the international "gold standard, elsewhere["where?] "free banking or "currency boards were more usual at this time. Problems with collapses of banks during downturns, however, led to wider support for central banks in those nations which did not as yet possess them, most notably in "Australia.

On 23 December 1913 the "U.S. Congress created the "US Federal Reserve through the passing of "The Federal Reserve Act in the Senate and its signing by President "Woodrow Wilson on the same day. Australia established its first central bank in 1920, Peru in 1922, "Colombia in 1923, "Mexico and "Chile in 1925 and "Canada and "New Zealand in the aftermath of the "Great Depression in 1934. By 1935, the only significant independent nation that did not possess a central bank was "Brazil, which subsequently developed a precursor thereto in 1945 and the present "Central Bank of Brazil twenty years later. After gaining independence, African and Asian countries also established central banks or monetary unions.

The headquarters of the "People's Bank of China in "Beijing.

The "People's Bank of China evolved its role as a central bank starting in about 1979 with the introduction of market reforms, which accelerated in 1989 when the country adopted a generally capitalist approach to its export economy. Evolving further partly in response to the "European Central Bank, the People's Bank of China had by 2000 become a modern central bank. The most recent bank model was introduced together with the "euro, and involves coordination of the European national banks, which continue to manage their respective economies separately in all respects other than currency exchange and base interest rates.

Naming of central banks[edit]

There is no standard terminology for the name of a central bank, but many countries use the "Bank of Country" form — for example: "Bank of England (which, despite its name, is in fact the central bank of the "United Kingdom as a whole. The name's lack of representation of the entire United Kingdom ('Bank of Britain', for example) can be owed to the fact that its establishment occurred when the Kingdoms of "England, "Scotland and "Ireland were separate entities (at least in name), and therefore pre-dates the "merger of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, "the Kingdom of Ireland's absorption into the Union and the "formation of the present day United Kingdom), "Bank of Canada, "Bank of Mexico, "Bank of Thailand.

The word "Reserve" is also often included, such as the "Reserve Bank of India, "Reserve Bank of Australia, "Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the "South African Reserve Bank, and "Federal Reserve System. Other central banks are known as monetary authorities such as the "Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, "Hong Kong Monetary Authority, "Monetary Authority of Singapore, "Maldives Monetary Authority and "Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. There is an instance where native language was used to name the central bank: in the Philippines the "Filipino name "Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is used even in English.

Some are styled "national" banks, such as the "Swiss National Bank and "National Bank of Ukraine, although the term "national bank is also used for private commercial banks in some countries such as "National Bank of Pakistan. In other cases, central banks may incorporate the word "Central" (for example, "European Central Bank, "Central Bank of Ireland, "Central Bank of Brazil). In some countries, particularly in formerly Communist ones, the term national bank may be used to indicate both the monetary authority and the leading banking entity, such as the "Soviet Union's "Gosbank (state bank). In rare cases, central banks are styled "state" banks such as the "State Bank of Pakistan and "State Bank of Vietnam.

Many countries have state-owned banks or other quasi-government entities that have entirely separate functions, such as financing imports and exports. In other countries, the term national bank may be used to indicate that the central bank's goals are broader than monetary stability, such as full employment, industrial development, or other goals. Some state-owned commercial banks have names suggestive of central banks, even if they are not: examples are the "Bank of India and "Central Bank of India.

The chief executive of a central bank is usually known as the Governor, President or Chair.

21st Century[edit]

After the "Financial crisis of 2007–2008 central banks led change, but as of 2015 their ability to boost economic growth has stalled. Central banks debate whether they should experiment with new measures like negative interest rates or direct financing of government, "lean even more on politicians to do more". "Andy Haldane from the Bank of England said "central bankers may need to accept that their good old days – of adjusting interest rates to boost employment or contain inflation – may be gone for good". The "European Central Bank and The "Bank of Japan whose economies are in or close to "deflation, continue "quantitative easing buying securities to encourage more lending.[32]

Activities and responsibilities[edit]

The "Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in "Washington, D.C. houses the main offices of the "Board of Governors of the United States' "Federal Reserve System

Functions of a central bank may include:

Monetary policy[edit]

Central banks implement a country's chosen "monetary policy.

Currency insurance[edit]

At the most basic level, monetary policy involves establishing what form of currency the country may have, whether a "fiat currency, "gold-backed currency (disallowed for countries in the "International Monetary Fund), "currency board or a "currency union. When a country has its own national currency, this involves the issue of some form of standardized currency, which is essentially a form of "promissory note: a promise to exchange the note for "money" under certain circumstances. Historically, this was often a promise to exchange the money for precious metals in some fixed amount. Now, when many currencies are "fiat money, the "promise to pay" consists of the promise to accept that currency to pay for taxes.

A central bank may use another country's currency either directly in a currency union, or indirectly on a currency board. In the latter case, exemplified by the "Bulgarian National Bank, "Hong Kong and "Latvia, the local currency is backed at a fixed rate by the central bank's holdings of a foreign currency. Similar to commercial banks, central banks hold assets (government bonds, foreign exchange, gold, and other financial assets) and incur liabilities (currency outstanding). Central banks create money by issuing interest-free currency notes and selling them to the public (government) in exchange for interest-bearing assets such as government bonds. When a central bank wishes to purchase more bonds than their respective national governments make available, they may purchase private bonds or assets denominated in foreign currencies.

The "European Central Bank remits its interest income to the central banks of the member countries of the European Union. The US "Federal Reserve remits all its profits to the U.S. Treasury. This income, derived from the power to issue currency, is referred to as "seigniorage, and usually belongs to the national government. The state-sanctioned power to create currency is called the "Right of Issuance. Throughout history there have been disagreements over this power, since whoever controls the creation of currency controls the seigniorage income. The expression "monetary policy" may also refer more narrowly to the interest-rate targets and other active measures undertaken by the monetary authority.


High employment[edit]

"Frictional unemployment is the time period between jobs when a worker is searching for, or transitioning from one job to another. Unemployment beyond frictional unemployment is classified as unintended unemployment.

For example, "structural unemployment is a form of unemployment resulting from a mismatch between demand in the labour market and the skills and locations of the workers seeking employment. Macroeconomic policy generally aims to reduce unintended unemployment.

Keynes labeled any jobs that would be created by a rise in wage-goods (i.e., a decrease in "real-wages) as "involuntary unemployment:

Men are involuntarily unemployed if, in the event of a small rise in the price of wage-goods relatively to the money-wage, both the aggregate supply of labour willing to work for the current money-wage and the aggregate demand for it at that wage would be greater than the existing volume of employment.
—"John Maynard Keynes, "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money p11

Price stability[edit]

"Inflation is defined either as the devaluation of a currency or equivalently the rise of prices relative to a currency.

Since inflation lowers "real wages, "Keynesians view inflation as the solution to involuntary unemployment. However, "unanticipated" inflation leads to lender losses as the real interest rate will be lower than expected. Thus, Keynesian monetary policy aims for a steady rate of inflation. A publication from the "Austrian School, "The Case Against the Fed, argues that the efforts of the central banks to control inflation have been counterproductive.

Economic growth[edit]

Economic growth can be enhanced by investment in "capital, such as more or better machinery. A low interest rate implies that firms can borrow money to invest in their capital stock and pay less interest for it. Lowering the interest is therefore considered to encourage economic growth and is often used to alleviate times of low economic growth. On the other hand, raising the interest rate is often used in times of high economic growth as a contra-cyclical device to keep the economy from overheating and avoid market bubbles.

The "European Central Bank building in "Frankfurt

Further goals of monetary policy are stability of interest rates, of the financial market, and of the foreign exchange market. Goals frequently cannot be separated from each other and often conflict. Costs must therefore be carefully weighed before policy implementation.

Policy instruments[edit]

The headquarters of the "Bank for International Settlements, in "Basel ("Switzerland).
The "Bank of Japan.
The "BSP Complex, in the "Philippines.

The main "monetary policy instruments available to central banks are "open market operation, bank "reserve requirement, "interest rate policy, re-lending and re-discount (including using the term repurchase market), and credit policy (often coordinated with "trade policy). While "capital adequacy is important, it is defined and regulated by the "Bank for International Settlements, and central banks in practice generally do not apply stricter rules.

To enable open market operations, a central bank must hold "foreign exchange reserves (usually in the form of "government bonds) and "official gold reserves. It will often have some influence over any official or mandated "exchange rates: Some exchange rates are managed, some are market based (free float) and many are somewhere in between ("managed float" or "dirty float").

Interest rates[edit]

By far the most visible and obvious power of many modern central banks is to influence market interest rates; contrary to popular belief, they rarely "set" rates to a fixed number. Although the mechanism differs from country to country, most use a similar mechanism based on a central bank's ability to create as much "fiat money as required.

The mechanism to move the market towards a 'target rate' (whichever specific rate is used) is generally to lend money or borrow money in theoretically unlimited quantities, until the targeted market rate is sufficiently close to the target. Central banks may do so by lending money to and borrowing money from (taking deposits from) a limited number of qualified banks, or by purchasing and selling bonds. As an example of how this functions, the "Bank of Canada sets a target "overnight rate, and a band of plus or minus 0.25%. Qualified banks borrow from each other within this band, but never above or below, because the central bank will always lend to them at the top of the band, and take deposits at the bottom of the band; in principle, the capacity to borrow and lend at the extremes of the band are unlimited.[33] Other central banks use similar mechanisms.

The target rates are generally short-term rates. The actual rate that borrowers and lenders receive on the market will depend on (perceived) credit risk, maturity and other factors. For example, a central bank might set a target rate for overnight lending of 4.5%, but rates for (equivalent risk) five-year bonds might be 5%, 4.75%, or, in cases of "inverted yield curves, even below the short-term rate. Many central banks have one primary "headline" rate that is quoted as the "central bank rate". In practice, they will have other tools and rates that are used, but only one that is rigorously targeted and enforced.

"The rate at which the central bank lends money can indeed be chosen at will by the central bank; this is the rate that makes the financial headlines." – Henry C.K. Liu.[34] Liu explains further that "the U.S. central-bank lending rate is known as the "Fed funds rate. The Fed sets a target for the Fed funds rate, which its "Open Market Committee tries to match by lending or borrowing in the "money market ... a fiat money system set by command of the central bank. The Fed is the head of the central-bank because the U.S. dollar is the key reserve currency for international trade. The global money market is a USA dollar market. All other currencies markets revolve around the U.S. dollar market." Accordingly, the U.S. situation is not typical of central banks in general.

Typically a central bank controls certain types of "short-term "interest rates. These influence the "stock- and "bond markets as well as "mortgage and other interest rates. The European Central Bank for example announces its interest rate at the meeting of its Governing Council; in the case of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the "Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Both the Federal Reserve and the ECB are composed of one or more central bodies that are responsible for the main decisions about interest rates and the size and type of open market operations, and several branches to execute its policies. In the case of the Federal Reserve, they are the local Federal Reserve Banks; for the ECB they are the national central banks.

A typical central bank has several interest rates or monetary policy tools it can set to influence markets.

These rates directly affect the rates in the money market, the market for short term loans.

Open market operations[edit]

Through "open market operations, a central bank influences the money supply in an economy. Each time it buys "securities (such as a "government bond or treasury bill), it in effect "creates money. The central bank exchanges money for the security, increasing the "money supply while lowering the supply of the specific security. Conversely, selling of securities by the central bank reduces the money supply.

Open market operations usually take the form of:

All of these interventions can also influence the "foreign exchange market and thus the exchange rate. For example, the "People's Bank of China and the "Bank of Japan have on occasion bought several hundred billions of "U.S. Treasuries, presumably in order to stop the decline of the "U.S. dollar versus the "renminbi and the "yen.

Capital requirements[edit]

All banks are required to hold a certain percentage of their assets as capital, a rate which may be established by the central bank or the banking supervisor. For international banks, including the 55 member central banks of the "Bank for International Settlements, the threshold is 8% (see the "Basel Capital Accords) of risk-adjusted assets, whereby certain assets (such as government bonds) are considered to have lower risk and are either partially or fully excluded from total assets for the purposes of calculating "capital adequacy. Partly due to concerns about "asset inflation and "repurchase agreements, capital requirements may be considered more effective than reserve requirements in preventing indefinite lending: when at the threshold, a bank cannot extend another loan without acquiring further capital on its balance sheet.

Reserve requirements[edit]

Historically, "bank reserves have formed only a small fraction of deposits, a system called "fractional reserve banking. Banks would hold only a small percentage of their assets in the form of cash "reserves as insurance against bank runs. Over time this process has been regulated and insured by central banks. Such legal "reserve requirements were introduced in the 19th century as an attempt to reduce the risk of banks overextending themselves and suffering from "bank runs, as this could lead to knock-on effects on other overextended banks. See also "money multiplier.

As the early 20th century "gold standard was undermined by inflation and the late 20th century fiat "dollar hegemony evolved, and as banks proliferated and engaged in more complex transactions and were able to profit from dealings globally on a moment's notice, these practices became mandatory, if only to ensure that there was some limit on the ballooning of money supply. Such limits have become harder to enforce. The "People's Bank of China retains (and uses) more powers over reserves because the "yuan that it manages is a non-"convertible currency.

Loan activity by banks plays a fundamental role in determining the money supply. The central-bank money after aggregate settlement – "final money" – can take only one of two forms:

The currency component of the money supply is far smaller than the deposit component. Currency, bank reserves and institutional loan agreements together make up the monetary base, called "M1, M2 and M3. The Federal Reserve Bank stopped publishing M3 and counting it as part of the money supply in 2006.[36]

Credit controls[edit]

Central banks can directly control the money supply by placing limits on the amount banks can lend to various sectors of the economy.[37] [38]

Exchange requirements[edit]

To influence the money supply, some central banks may require that some or all foreign exchange receipts (generally from exports) be exchanged for the local currency. The rate that is used to purchase local currency may be market-based or arbitrarily set by the bank. This tool is generally used in countries with non-convertible currencies or partially convertible currencies. The recipient of the local currency may be allowed to freely dispose of the funds, required to hold the funds with the central bank for some period of time, or allowed to use the funds subject to certain restrictions. In other cases, the ability to hold or use the foreign exchange may be otherwise limited.

In this method, money supply is increased by the central bank when it purchases the foreign currency by issuing (selling) the local currency. The central bank may subsequently reduce the money supply by various means, including selling bonds or foreign exchange interventions.

Margin requirements and other tools[edit]

In some countries, central banks may have other tools that work indirectly to limit lending practices and otherwise restrict or regulate capital markets. For example, a central bank may regulate "margin lending, whereby individuals or companies may borrow against pledged securities. The margin requirement establishes a minimum ratio of the value of the securities to the amount borrowed.

Central banks often have requirements for the quality of assets that may be held by financial institutions; these requirements may act as a limit on the amount of risk and leverage created by the financial system. These requirements may be direct, such as requiring certain assets to bear certain minimum "credit ratings, or indirect, by the central bank lending to counterparties only when security of a certain quality is pledged as "collateral.

Limits on policy effects[edit]

Although the perception by the public may be that the "central bank" controls some or all interest rates and currency rates, economic theory (and substantial empirical evidence) shows that it is impossible to do both at once in an open economy. "Robert Mundell's ""impossible trinity" is the most famous formulation of these limited powers, and postulates that it is impossible to target monetary policy (broadly, interest rates), the exchange rate (through a fixed rate) and maintain free capital movement. Since most Western economies are now considered "open" with free capital movement, this essentially means that central banks may target interest rates or exchange rates with credibility, but not both at once.

In the most famous case of policy failure, "Black Wednesday, "George Soros arbitraged the "pound sterling's relationship to the "ECU and (after making $2 billion himself and forcing the UK to spend over $8bn defending the pound) forced it to abandon its policy. Since then he has been a harsh critic of clumsy bank policies and argued that no one should be able to do what he did.["citation needed]

The most complex relationships are those between the "yuan and the "US dollar, and between the "euro and its neighbors. US dollars were ubiquitous in Cuba's economy after its legalization in 1991, but were officially removed from circulation in 2004 and replaced by the "convertible peso.

Banking supervision and other activities[edit]

In some countries a central bank, through its subsidiaries, controls and monitors the banking sector. In other countries banking supervision is carried out by a government department such as the "UK Treasury, or by an independent government agency, for example, UK's "Financial Conduct Authority. It examines the banks' "balance sheets and behaviour and policies toward consumers.["clarification needed] Apart from refinancing, it also provides banks with services such as transfer of funds, bank notes and coins or foreign currency. Thus it is often described as the "bank of banks".

Many countries will monitor and control the banking sector through several different agencies and for different purposes. the "Bank regulation in the United States for example is highly fragmented with 3 federal agencies, the "Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the "Federal Reserve Board, or "Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and numerous others on the state and the private level. There is usually significant cooperation between the agencies. For example, "money center banks, deposit-taking institutions, and other types of financial institutions may be subject to different (and occasionally overlapping) regulation. Some types of banking regulation may be delegated to other levels of government, such as state or provincial governments.

Any cartel of banks is particularly closely watched and controlled. Most countries control bank mergers and are wary of concentration in this industry due to the danger of groupthink and runaway lending bubbles based on a "single point of failure, the credit culture of the few large banks.


Governments generally have some degree of influence over even "independent" central banks; the aim of independence is primarily to prevent short-term interference. For example, the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve are nominated by the "President of the U.S. and confirmed by the "Senate,[39] publishes verbatim transcripts, and balance sheets are audited by the "Government Accountability Office.[40]

The "German Federal Bank was the first central bank to be given full independence, leading this form of central bank to be referred to as the Bundesbank model, as opposed, for instance, to the New Zealand model, which has a goal (i.e. inflation target) set by the government.

Central bank independence is usually guaranteed by legislation and the institutional framework governing the bank's relationship with elected officials, particularly the minister of finance. Central bank legislation will enshrine specific procedures for selecting and appointing the head of the central bank. Often the minister of finance will appoint the governor in consultation with the central bank's board and its incumbent governor. In addition, the legislation will specify banks governor's term of appointment. The most independent central banks enjoy a fixed non-renewable term for the governor in order to eliminate pressure on the governor to please the government in the hope of being re-appointed for a second term.[41] Generally, independent central banks enjoy both goal and instrument independence.[42]

In the 2000s there has been a trend towards increasing the independence of central banks as a way of improving long-term economic performance. While a large volume of economic research has been done to define the relationship between central bank independence and economic performance, the results are ambiguous.[43]

Advocates of central bank independence argue that a central bank which is too susceptible to political direction or pressure may encourage economic cycles (""boom and bust"), as politicians may be tempted to boost economic activity in advance of an election, to the detriment of the long-term health of the economy and the country. In this context, independence is usually defined as the central bank's operational and management independence from the government.["citation needed]

The literature on central bank independence has defined a number of types of independence.["citation needed]

The independence of the central bank is enshrined in law. This type of independence is limited in a democratic state; in almost all cases the central bank is accountable at some level to government officials, either through a government minister or directly to a legislature. Even defining degrees of legal independence has proven to be a challenge since legislation typically provides only a framework within which the government and the central bank work out their relationship.
The central bank has the right to set its own policy goals, whether inflation targeting, control of the money supply, or maintaining a "fixed exchange rate. While this type of independence is more common, many central banks prefer to announce their policy goals in partnership with the appropriate government departments. This increases the transparency of the policy setting process and thereby increases the credibility of the goals chosen by providing assurance that they will not be changed without notice. In addition, the setting of common goals by the central bank and the government helps to avoid situations where monetary and fiscal policy are in conflict; a policy combination that is clearly sub-optimal.
The central bank has the independence to determine the best way of achieving its policy goals, including the types of instruments used and the timing of their use. This is the most common form of central bank independence. The granting of independence to the Bank of England in 1997 was, in fact, the granting of operational independence; the inflation target continued to be announced in the Chancellor's annual budget speech to Parliament.
The central bank has the authority to run its own operations (appointing staff, setting budgets, and so on.) without excessive involvement of the government. The other forms of independence are not possible unless the central bank has a significant degree of management independence. One of the most common statistical indicators used in the literature as a proxy for central bank independence is the "turn-over-rate" of central bank governors. If a government is in the habit of appointing and replacing the governor frequently, it clearly has the capacity to micro-manage the central bank through its choice of governors.

It is argued that an independent central bank can run a more credible monetary policy, making market expectations more responsive to signals from the central bank.["by whom?] Both the Bank of England (1997) and the European Central Bank have been made independent and follow a set of published "inflation targets so that markets know what to expect. Even the "People's Bank of China has been accorded great latitude, though in "China the official role of the bank remains that of a "national bank rather than a central bank, underlined by the official refusal to "unpeg" the yuan or to revalue it "under pressure". The People's Bank of China's independence can thus be read more as independence from the USA, which rules the financial markets, rather than from the "Communist Party of China which rules the country. The fact that the Communist Party is not elected also relieves the pressure to please people, increasing its independence.["citation needed]

International organizations such as the "World Bank, the "Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the "International Monetary Fund (IMF) strongly support central bank independence. This results, in part, from a belief in the intrinsic merits of increased independence. The support for independence from the "international organizations also derives partly from the connection between increased independence for the central bank and increased transparency in the policy-making process. The IMF's "Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) review self-assessment, for example, includes a number of questions about central bank independence in the transparency section. An independent central bank will score higher in the review than one that is not independent.["citation needed]


As of 2016, 75% of the world’s central-bank assets are controlled by four centers in China, the United States, Japan and the "eurozone. The central banks of Brazil, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., India and Russia, each account for an average of 2.5 percent. The remaining 107 central banks hold less than 13 percent. According to data compiled by "Bloomberg News, the top 10 largest central banks owned $21.4 trillion in assets, a 10 percent increase from 2015.[44]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Bank of Canada. "$5 and $10 Bank Note Issue". Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Public governance of central banks: an approach from new institutional economics". The Bulletin of the Faculty of Commerce. Meiji University. 89 (4). March 2007. 
  3. ^ Apel, Emmanuel (November 2007). "1". Central Banking Systems Compared: The ECB, The Pre-Euro Bundesbank and the Federal Reserve System. Routledge. p. 14. "ISBN "978-0415459228. 
  4. ^ "Ownership and independence of FED". Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Deutsche Bundesbank#Governance
  6. ^ Monetary practices In ancient Egypt. Money Museum National Bank of Belgium, 31 May 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  7. ^ Metcalf, William E. The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 43-44
  8. ^ Collins, Christopher. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, Volume 3. BANKING: Middle Ages and Early Modern Period., Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 221-225
  9. ^ Collins, Christopher. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, Volume 3. BANKING: Middle Ages and Early Modern Period., Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 223
  10. ^ Kurgan-van Hentenryk, Ginette. Banking, Trade and Industry: Europe, America and Asia from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 39
  11. ^ Tracy, James D. (1985). A Financial Revolution in the Habsburg Netherlands: Renten and Renteniers in the County of Holland, 1515–1565. (University of California Press, 300 pp)
  12. ^ Goetzmann, William N.; Rouwenhorst, K. Geert (2005). The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets. (Oxford University Press, "ISBN "978-0195175714))
  13. ^ Goetzmann, William N.; Rouwenhorst, K. Geert (2008). The History of Financial Innovation, in Carbon Finance, Environmental Market Solutions to Climate Change. (Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, chapter 1, pp. 18–43). As Goetzmann & Rouwenhorst (2008) noted, "The 17th and 18th centuries in the Netherlands were a remarkable time for finance. Many of the financial products or instruments that we see today emerged during a relatively short period. In particular, merchants and bankers developed what we would today call "securitization. Mutual funds and various other forms of structured finance that still exist today emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries in Holland."
  14. ^ Sylla, Richard (2015). "Financial Development, Corporations, and Inequality". (BHC-EBHA Meeting). As "Richard Sylla (2015) notes, "In modern history, several nations had what some of us call "financial revolutions. These can be thought of as creating in a short period of time all the key components of a modern "financial system. The first was the Dutch Republic four centuries ago."
  15. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William (2005). The Big Problem of Large Bills: The Bank of Amsterdam and the Origins of Central Banking. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Working Paper 2005–16)
  16. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William: An Economic Explanation of the Early Bank of Amsterdam, Debasement, Bills of Exchange, and the Emergence of the First Central Bank. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Working Paper 2006–13), 2006
  17. ^ Van Nieuwkerk, Marius (ed.), (2009). The Bank of Amsterdam: on the Origins of Central Banking. (Amsterdam: Sonsbeek Publishers)
  18. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William (2007). The Bank of Amsterdam and the Leap to Central Bank Money. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 97, p262-5
  19. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William (2008). Domestic Coinage and the Bank of Amsterdam. (August 2008 Draft of Chapter 7 of the Wisselbankboek)
  20. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William (2010). How Amsterdam Got Fiat Money. (Working Paper 2010-17, December 2010)
  21. ^ Quinn, Stephen; Roberds, William (2012). The Bank of Amsterdam through the Lens of Monetary Competition. (Working Paper 2012-14, September 2012)
  22. ^ Kuzminski, Adrian: The Ecology of Money: Debt, Growth, and Sustainability. (Lexington Books, 2013), p. 38
  23. ^ Gillard, Lucien: La Banque d'Amsterdam et le florin européen au temps de la République néerlandaise, 1610-1820. (Paris: Editions de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 420 p., 2004)
  24. ^ Committee of Finance and Industry 1931 (Macmillan Report) description of the founding of Bank of England. Retrieved 10 May 2010. Its foundation in 1694 arose out the difficulties of the Government of the day in securing subscriptions to State loans. Its primary purpose was to raise and lend money to the State and in consideration of this service it received under its Charter and various Act of Parliament, certain privileges of issuing bank notes. The corporation commenced, with an assured life of twelve years after which the Government had the right to annul its Charter on giving one year's notice. '''Subsequent extensions of this period coincided generally with the grant of additional loans to the State''' 
  25. ^ H. Roseveare, The Financial Revolution 1660–1760 (1991, Longman), p. 34
  26. ^ Bagehot, Walter (November 5, 2010). Lombard Street: a description of the money market (1873). London: Henry S. King and Co. (etext by Project Gutenberg). 
  27. ^ a b Capie, Forrest, Fischer, Stanley, Goodhart, Charles and Schnadt, Norbert (1994). "The development of central banking". The future of central banking: the tercentenary symposium of the Bank of England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. "ISBN "9780521496346. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  28. ^ Philippe Beaugrand, Henry Thornton, un précurseur de J.M. Keynes, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1981.
  29. ^ "£2 note issued by Evans, Jones, Davies & Co.". British Museum. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Jeffrey A. Tucker (September 16, 2010). "Yesterday was a Historic Day — Mises Economics Blog". Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  31. ^ Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor, Financial Stability, Bank of England, The Repertoire of Official Sector Interventions in the Financial System: Last Resort Lending, Market-Making, and Capital, Bank of Japan 2009 International Conference, 27–28 May 2009, p. 5
  32. ^ Howard Schneider; Balazs Koranyi (1 October 2015). "From heroes to bystanders? Central banks' growth challenge". Reuters. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  33. ^ Bank of Canada backgrounder: Target for the Overnight Rate
  34. ^ Asia Times article explaining modern central bank function in detail
  35. ^ a b c Key ECB Interest Rates
  36. ^ Reserve, Federal. "Fed stops publishing M3". press release. Federal Reserve Board. Retrieved 9 March 2006. 
  37. ^ Werner, Richard (2002). ‘Monetary Policy Implementation in Japan: What They Say vs. What they Do’, Asian Economic Journal, vol. 16 no.2, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 111-151; Werner, Richard (2001). Princes of the Yen, Armonk: M. E. Sharpe [1]
  38. ^ Chan, Szu Ping. "Bank of England cracks down on mortgages". The Telegraph. 
  39. ^ Who are the members of the Federal Reserve Board, and how are they selected? U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors FAQ, July 22, 2015
  40. ^ Is the Federal Reserve accountable to anyone? U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors FAQ June 17, 2011
  41. ^ John Goodman, Monetary Sovereignty: The Politics of Central Banking in Western Europe, Cornell University Press, 1992
  42. ^ Stanley Fischer, "Central Bank Independence"
  43. ^ Banaian, Burdekin, and Willett, 1998 "Reconsidering the principal components of central bank independence: The more the merrier?"
  44. ^ Big Central Bank Assets Jump Fastest in 5 Years to $21 Trillion Bloomberg News, October 16, 2016

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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