The past, present and future of central banking
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The financial crisis, on the one hand, and the recourse to ‘unconventional’ monetary policy, on the other, have given a sharp jolt to perceptions of the role and status of central banks. In this paper we start with a brief ‘contrarian’ history of central banks since the second world war, which presents the Great Moderation and the restricted focus on inflation targeting as a temporary aberration from the norm. We then discuss how recent developments in fiscal and monetary policy have affected the role and status of central banks, notably their relationships with governments, before considering the environment central banks will face in the near and middle future and how they will have to change to address it.