The number of central banks in the world is approaching 180, a tenfold increase since the beginning of the twentieth century. What lies behind the spread of this economic institution? What underlying process has brought central banks to hold such a key role in economic life today? This book examines from a transatlantic perspective how the central bank has become the bank of banks. Thirteen distinguished economists and central bankers have been brought together to evaluate how central banks work, arrive at their policies, choose their instruments and gauge their success in managing economies, both in times of crisis and periods of growth.
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, there has been increasing debate over the appropriate role of central banks in mitigating economic disaster. This timely volume combines detailed historical and econometric analyses to explore the profound changes that occurred within the US financial system from the 1980s to the present, and shows how these changes have affected the US economy.
Curzio Giannini’s history of the evolution of central banks illustrates how the most relevant institutional developments have taken place at times of widespread confidence crises and in response to deflationary pressures.
The eminent and highly-renowned author provides an analytical perspective to study the evolution of central banking as an endogenous response to crisis and to the ever increasing needs of economic growth. The key argument of the analysis is that crucial innovations in the payment technology (from the invention of coinage to the development of electronic money) could not have taken place without an institution – i.e. the central bank - that could preserve confidence in the instruments used as money. According to Curzio Giannini’s ‘neo-institutionalist’ methodological approach, social institutions are, in fact, essential in the coordination of individual decisions as they minimize transaction costs, overcome information asymmetries and deal with incomplete contracts.