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Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics: The Myth of Neutrality (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics) Hardcover – April 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"In this pathbreaking book Adolph offers a new approach to the study of central banks and monetary policy. Challenging the conventional assumption that central banks choose optimal policies if given enough autonomy to do so, Adolph argues that central bankers - the people who actually make monetary policy - are driven by their own narrow professional perspectives and ambitions. Often concerned with pleasing potential future employers, they bend policies to win approval of 'shadow principals' - especially big banks - while the public interest takes a backseat. The argument has stark implications for government policies and central bank design, especially in a world that is still reeling from the financial crisis. Important and timely, this book will be widely read and debated."
Torben Iversen, Harvard University

"Adolph combines good intuition with strong theorizing and thorough and imaginative empirical work to produce an analog in the bureaucratic world to the 'citizen candidate' model of electoral politics: central bankers' career paths are a strong predictor of inflation rates. This is excellent, timely scholarship that will surely trigger a flurry of new studies. This is, in my view, a book ready for prime time."
Frances Rosenbluth, Yale University

"Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics is an important scholarly work that raises an issue that economists have largely missed: central bankers are people and have private incentives. How do these incentives affect their decisions? Adolph puts together the first data set on the career paths of central bank decision makers and subjects it to careful empirical analysis. A major contribution sure to be of interest to students of monetary policy and political economy."
Dick Startz, University of California, Santa Barbara

Book Description

More than any other institution, central banks manage inflation and unemployment in modern economies. Economists emphasize the role central banks' independence plays in achieving good economic outcomes, but this book shows what really makes the difference is the kind of central bankers a country has. Using game theory and data from dozens of countries, Christopher Adolph shows that central banks run by former bankers keep inflation low, while central banks run by bureaucrats fight unemployment. Governments pick the central bankers they need to get the outcomes they want.

More About the Author

Christopher Adolph is Associate Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also a core faculty member of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. He is a former Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research and won the American Political Science Association's Mancur Olson Award for the best dissertation in political economy. He is the author of "Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics: The Myth of Neutrality," and his research on comparative political economy and quantitative methods has appeared in American Political Science Review, Political Analysis, Social Science & Medicine, and other academic journals.

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