In this Occasional Paper, Professor Otmar Issing, the leading monetary economist and one of Europe’s most influential central bankers, argues that price stability is a ‘common good’ and that it is better in the hands of an independent central bank with a clear price stability mandate. The independent central bank with such a manadate, in effect, represents a set of rules which impose constraints on the abuse of power either by politicians or by central bankers. Central bankers operate best in institutions which have a clear objective and are held accountable to the public.
Professor Geoffrey Wood adds a commentary which puts Issing’s paper in the context of the ‘rules versus discretion’ debate and deals with three related issues: the meaning of ‘price stability’, the importance of stable money to the functioning of a market economy and the central bank’s role in maintaining financial stability.
2002, Occasional Papers 125, ISBN 0 255 36528 4, 55pp, PB