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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Central bank independence (CBI) refers to the relation between the central bank and the state, the legislature and executive. In practice, central banks typically engage in a wide range of activities related to the currency sphere and the financial system. The mainstream literature popularizing CBI features a “narrow central bank” approach that concentrates on central banks’ monetary policy functions only, ignoring important interdependencies between monetary policy on the one hand, and central banks’ historical role as government’s banker (as one link to fiscal policy) and their role in safeguarding the financial system’s stability on the other. This chapter investigates the rise in CBI as an apparent success story in modern monetary economics. The worldwide rise in CBI is partly due to the advent of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe. This chapter also discusses the time-inconsistency argument for CBI, post-Keynesian criticisms of CBI, and whether John Maynard Keynes’s model of CBI strikes a sound balance between democracy and efficiency.

Keywords: central banks, central bank independence, monetary policy, monetary economics, Economic and Monetary Union, Europe, time-inconsistency argument, John Maynard Keynes, democracy, efficiency

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