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Financial Stability and Central Bank Governance

The financial crisis has ignited a debate about the appropriate objectives and the governance structure of Central Banks. We use novel survey data to investigate the relation between these traits and banking system stability focusing in particular on their role in micro-prudential supervision. We find that the separation of powers between single and multiple bank supervisors cannot explain credit risk prior or during the financial crisis. Similarly, a large number of Central Bank governance traits do not correlate with system fragility. Only the objective of currency stability exhibits a significant relation with non-performing loan levels in the run-up to the crisis. This effect is amplified for those countries with most frequent exposure to IMF missions in the past. Our results suggest that the current policy discussion whether to centralize prudential supervision under the Central Bank and the ensuing institutional changes some countries are enacting may not produce the improvements authorities are aiming at. Whether other potential improvements in prudential supervision due to, for example, external disciplinary devices, such as IMF conditional lending schemes, are better suited to increase financial stability requires further research.

01. December 2014

Authors Michael Koetter Kasper Roszbach G. Spagnolo

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