Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics
The Myth of Neutrality

$142.00 (C)

Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: April 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107032613

$ 142.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Most studies of the political economy of money focus on the laws protecting central banks from government interference; this book turns to the overlooked people who actually make monetary policy decisions. Using formal theory and statistical evidence from dozens of central banks across the developed and developing worlds, this book shows that monetary policy agents are not all the same. Molded by specific professional and sectoral backgrounds and driven by career concerns, central bankers with different career trajectories choose predictably different monetary policies. These differences undermine the widespread belief that central bank independence is a neutral solution for macroeconomic management. Instead, through careful selection and retention of central bankers, partisan governments can and do influence monetary policy – preserving a political trade-off between inflation and real economic performance even in an age of legally independent central banks.

    • Shows an important role for politics in the supposedly de-politicized arena of monetary policy, with major implications for how economies manage recessions and inflation
    • Offers a new perspective on policy delegation, emphasizing agents and offering tools for measuring and modeling them
    • Uses innovative and accessible visual displays to convey complex models and data to a broad social science audience
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2014 Levine Prize, Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government, International Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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

    "Adolph has written a timely book for students of monetary policy, central banking, and comparative political economy. The main messages are accessible to a wide audience and have implications not only for economics, but also for law and sociology."
    Anne-Caroline Hüser, International Journal of Constitutional Law

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107032613
    • length: 390 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • contains: 53 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Agents, institutions, and the political economy of performance
    2. Career theories of monetary policy
    3. Careers and inflation in industrial democracies
    4. Careers and the monetary policy process
    5. Careers and inflation in developing countries
    6. The uses of autonomy: what independence really means
    7. Partisan governments, labor unions, and monetary policy
    8. The politics of central banker appointment
    9. The politics of central banker tenure
    10. Conclusion: the dilemma of discretion.

  • Author

    Christopher Adolph, University of Washington, Seattle
    Christopher Adolph is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also a core 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. His research on comparative political economy and quantitative methods has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Political Analysis, Social Science and Medicine and other academic journals.


    • Winner of the 2014 Levine Prize, Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government, International Political Science Association

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.