DP17802 (In)dependent Central Banks
Since the 1980s many countries have reformed the institutional framework governing their central banks to increase operational independence. Collecting systematic biographical information, international press coverage, and independent expert opinions, we find that over the same period appointments of central bank governors have become more politically motivated, especially after significant legislative reforms aiming to insulate central banks and their governors from political interference. We also show that politically-motivated appointments reflect lower de facto independence, and are associated with worse inflation and financial stability outcomes. Given the increase in central banks' powers worldwide, our findings inform the debate about their political accountability and credibility.