The Age of Central Banks
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The Age of Central Banks

Curzio Giannini

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.
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Curzio Giannini


PREFACE 1. ‘Determinazione del livello dei prezzi e politica monetaria in un’economia senza moneta’, Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia, September–October 1986; ‘L’evoluzione del sistema dei pagamenti: una sintesi teorica’, Moneta e Credito, June 1988. 2. ‘Confidence costs and the institutional genesis of central banks’, Banca d’Italia, Temi di discussione No. 226, 1994; ‘Money, trust, and central banking’, Journal of Economics and Business, 1995. 3. The studies with the most direct bearing on the book are: ‘On the economics of interbank payments systems’, Economic Notes, May–August 1994 (with Paolo Angelini); ‘Which target for monetary policy in Stage Three? Issues in the shaping of the European Payment System’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, October–December 1997 (with Carlo Monticelli); ‘Dalla finanza alla moneta: il ruolo del sistema dei pagamenti’, in Giacomo Vaciago (ed.), Moneta e Finanza, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1998 (with Giovanni B. Pittaluga and Fabio Fornari); ‘Enemy of none but a common friend to all’, Princeton Essays in International Finance, 214, June 1999; ‘Pitfalls in international crisis lending’, in Charles Goodhart and Gerhard Illing (eds), Financial Crises, Contagion, and the Lender of Last Resort: A Reader, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002; ‘Credibility without rules? Monetary frameworks in the post-Bretton Woods era’, IMF Occasional Paper No. 154, December 1997; and ‘Bedfellows, hostages or perfect strangers? Global capital markets and the catalytic effect of IMF crisis lending’, IMF Working Paper, WP/02/193, November 2002 (the last two with Carlo Cottarelli). INTRODUCTION 1. 2. 3. This inscription was found on an ancient coin from...

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