نگرش عمومی به استقلال بانک مرکزی : درسهایی از پایه و اساس بانک مرکزی اروپا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|27120||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8130 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Journal of Political Economy, Volume 28, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 512–523
This study examines public opinion in 15 European countries, on the proposal to establish an independent European Central Bank (ECB). Using data from Eurobarometer surveys for 1998 to 2000, which included a specific question on this issue, we show that inflation performance is not sufficient to explain people's preference for an independent central bank: personal characteristics and circumstances have a stronger impact, with gender, employment status, education level, income quartiles, and degree of information and civic concern showing particular relevance.
In the most recent decades, academics and governments have endorsed central bank independence as a decisive feature in the achievement of lower, actual and expected, inflation rates. Crowe and Meade (2007), notably, observe that countries with higher levels of inflation in the past, have granted their central banks greater independence.1 On the one hand, independence implies that the central bank is insulated against influence and pressure from government officials, especially the elected ones. On the other hand, the central bank has to shoulder the blame if its policy does not align with the needs of politicians or particular pressure groups. Central bank “bashing” might produce interesting payoffs for critical politicians (Waller, 1991) unless the bank has the support of the population, in which case it may produce a backlash, and the politicians' political capital may be impaired, to the benefit of the central bank's credibility. It is somewhat surprising, that public support for a central bank has not received much research attention, with the exceptions of Leertouwer and Maier (2001), Maier (2002), and Maier and Bezoen (2004), who focus on the Bundesbank and the European Central Bank and their policies, and rely mostly on media content analysis. It could be argued that central bank would receive stronger support, and would be able to implement even restrictive policies if the pros and cons of these policies are understood by the general public, among which stand the foundations of its statutes, i.e. its independence. Our aim in this paper is to analyze public attitudes to central bank independence. To do so, we make use of the case study provided by the foundation of the European Central Bank (ECB). This historic event received great official attention and provoked the inclusion in the Eurobarometer survey of a specific question in the period of its founding. Although some authors study inflation aversion (Hayo, 1999) or support for the Euro (Gärtner, 1997), the attitude of the general public towards central bank independence has been overlooked. We rely here on the Eurobarometer surveys conducted in 1998 to 2000, in 15 European countries to analyze opinions on central bank independence. Using data on the socio-demographic profiles of respondents and on inflation, this paper examines the variation in the degree of support for an independent ECB and investigates the following questions. First, how much does inflation performance, and overall inflation history, influence public support for an independent central bank? Second, to what extent are public attitudes to central bank independence shaped by political ideology and demographic attributes? Our results show that a country's inflation history cannot, by itself, explain variations in the preferences of its population in favor of an independent central bank, except if one considers that the current level of central bank independence reflects such a history. If not, then it appears that individual personal characteristics and circumstances have a much greater impact. Among those characteristics, gender, education, income, satisfaction with national democracy, interest in politics, level of knowledge about regional policies and institutions, importance given to EU Parliament, access and use of media, and employment status are shown to have the greatest relevance. The stakes are high because they involve the ECB's legitimacy (and, ultimately the Euro area's sustainability) and a lack of understanding may threaten the support for its degree of independence. This historical experience also offers lessons for building, or reinforcing, independent monetary institutions. The paper is structured as follows: Section 2 reviews the background literature; Section 3 discusses the data and methodology; and Section 4 presents the results of the estimates. Section 5 concludes with some suggestions for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study examines public opinion in Europe on the proposal to establish an independent European Central Bank (ECB). The benefits of central bank independence have been extensively examined and are no longer disputed since there is ample empirical evidence that it results in lower inflation and ensures a more stable economic environment. As a consequence, central bank independence has increased since the 1990s. Yet, there has been no comprehensive analysis of public preferences for central bank independence. This paper provides such an investigation, based on Eurobarometer opinion surveys in 15 European countries over the period 1998 to 2000, building on the historical event of the foundation of the European Central Bank. We study individual level characteristics and inflation factors that shape mass opinion in favor of central bank independence. Our logistic regression estimates demonstrate that inflation by itself is not sufficient to explain peoples' support for an independent central bank in Europe. Individual characteristics and circumstances play a bigger role in shaping preferences for central bank independence. Significant features include gender (women are less supportive), education (support increases with education), income (higher income means higher support), satisfaction with national democracy (greater satisfaction increases support), frequent discussion of politics (more frequent discussion results in more support), knowledge about the EU (higher level of information leads to higher support), importance given to EU Parliament (higher importance given leads to higher support), use of media (more regular news consumption translates into more support) and employment status (unemployed and retired are less supportive). Moreover, our results show that current level of central bank independence strongly impacts public opinion in favor of establishing an independent central bank.