Le CRÉ est heureux d’entendre Joseph Ferret Mas, qui séjourne au centre et qui offrira une présentation intitulée « Central Bank’s Legitimacy ».
Interest amongst political philosophers in the independence of central banks has increased significantly since the beginning of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. This paper explores the legitimacy of independent central banks from the perspective of two concerns. The concern with democratic legitimacy asks whether it is legitimate for democratic governments to delegate very important decisions to an independent body that is not subject to re-election, and not easily removed by the legislature. The concern with economic justice asks whether the policies of independent central banks, which have a deep distributional impact on citizens, are in line with economic justice.
The problem of the common understanding of central banks is that it forces us to think that there is a trade-off between three values. Either we must endorse the orthodox economic case for central bank independence – namely, that it is necessary for economic efficiency – or we must reject that case for the sake of democratic legitimacy and economic justice. We should instead construe central bank independence in scalar terms – so that independence admits of degrees. This helps us to develop an account of independence in which central banks can retain independence to the extent necessary for economic efficiency while meeting reasonable concerns with democracy legitimacy and economic justice.