The future of central bank cooperation

BIS Working Papers No 200
February 2006


Central bank cooperation depends on a few crucial parameters: the extent to which central bankers agree on theory (end means relationships); the extent to which they can agree on goals (social purpose); the capacity (technical and institutional) to achieve their collective goals; and whether the broader political environment facilitates or impedes cooperation. This article explores these questions by first providing an overview of central banks and bankers. Among the G-10 countries, central bankers are likely to share political independence, relatively long term horizons, and (increasingly) academic backgrounds. These conditions may be conducive to high levels of cooperation in the future. Second, I explore the "easiest" form of cooperation – information sharing – and conclude that this is an area in which central bank cooperation will become increasingly routinised. Cooperation to address global financial stability is a more difficult cooperative dilemma, with tensions between the need for efficient regulatory management and the inclusion of a broader range of cooperating institutions. In the area of exchange rate and monetary policy coordination, consensus among the major exchange rate authorities regarding the effectiveness of coordinated exchange market interventions has withered, though this does not preclude a new consensus from emerging in the future. One of the most significant challenges to central bank cooperation in the future will be how to include rising monetary and financial powers, particularly China, into the cooperative management of international monetary conditions.

JEL classification: E42, E50, F02, F42, G28, N20

Keywords: central bank, cooperation, monetary and financial stability, Bank for International Settlements, China