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Title: Financial stability and central bank power : a comparative perspective
Author: McPhilemy, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 2530
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis provides a comparative analysis of how the power of the United States Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank has changed as a consequence of the reorientation of central banking towards financial stability since the global financial crisis. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including more than 30 interviews with central bankers and other public officials, the thesis demonstrates that to different extents, each of these organisations has exhibited a more authoritative relationship with its key interlocutors in recent years. The thesis attributes this variegated transformation to the policy entrepreneurship of transgovernmentally networked central bankers, who acted in concert with sympathetic executive politicians to operationalise new ‘macroprudential’ policy frameworks after the financial crisis. Central bankers’ collective policy entrepreneurship was guided by shared normative beliefs about their appropriate role in respect of financial stability, but their embrace of macroprudential ideas was far from uniform. Central bankers in each jurisdiction pursued subtly different policy objectives within idiosyncratic political, cultural and institutional terrains, leading to distinctive local varieties of reform. The thesis argues that central banks’ heightened authority since the financial crisis has been underpinned by an increase in their structural power, which owed to the heightened reliance of politicians and financial market actors on central banks’ unique ability to create new base money. It also demonstrates how transformations in central banks’ authority and structural power feed into their overall capacity to achieve their financial stability objectives. The thesis argues that in the post-crisis regulatory framework, central banks are at risk of underdelivering on their mandates. A bias towards inaction in the face of uncertainty and insufficient willingness to break with pre-crisis economic tropes threaten to undermine central banks’ efforts to maintain financial stability over the medium term.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HG Finance