European Central Bank - eurosystem
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Kezdőlap Média Kisokos Kutatás és publikációk Statisztika Monetáris politika Az €uro Fizetésforgalom és piacok Karrier
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Bernhard Reinsberg

31 August 2020
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2464
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Abstract
This paper studies the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in promoting central bank independence (CBI). While anecdotal evidence suggests that the IMF has been playing a vital role for CBI, the underlying mechanisms of this influence are not well understood. We argue that the IMF has ulterior motives when pressing countries for increased CBI. First, IMF loans are primarily transferred to local monetary authorities. Thus, enhancing CBI aims to insulate central banks from political interference to shield loan disbursements from government abuse. Second, several loan conditionality clauses imply a substantial transfer of political leverage over economic policy making to monetary authorities. As a result, the IMF through pushing for CBI seeks to establish a politically insulated veto player to promote its economic policy reform agenda. We argue that the IMF achieves these aims through targeted lending conditions. We hypothesize that the inclusion of these loan conditions leads to greater CBI. To test our hypothesis, we compile a unique dataset that includes detailed information on CBI reforms and IMF conditionality for up to 124 countries between 1980 and 2014. Our findings indicate that targeted loan conditionality plays a critical role in promoting CBI. These results are robust towards varying modeling assumptions and withstand a battery of robustness checks.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
F5 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
28 January 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2518
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Abstract
International organizations (IOs) often drive policy change in member countries. Given IOs’ limited political leverage over a member country, previous research argues that IOs rely on a combination of hard pressures (i.e., conditionality) and soft pressures (i.e., socialization) to attain their political goals. Expanding this literature, we hypothesize that IOs can enhance their political leverage through loan conditions aimed at politically empowering ‘sympathetic interlocutors’. Studying this mechanism in the context of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we argue that through prescribing structural loan conditions on central banks (CBI conditionality), the IMF empowers monetary authorities that can serve as a veto player to the government. Relying on a dataset including up to 124 countries between 1980 and 2012, we find that the IMF’s CBI conditionality correlates to countries with fewer checks and balances, a less independent central bank, and where the government relies more heavily on the monetization of public debt.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
F5 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy