In this paper we test the hypothesis that central bank independence is closely correlated to social
agreement about decisions on income distribution. Using data from a panel of OECD countries over
the period 1972-2002 and controlling for several macroeconomic factors, we find evidence in favour
of this hypothesis. When some indexes of corporatism are used to allow for the degree of social
agreement on income distribution and its determination, the relationship between inflation and CBI
weakens considerably. This evidence is consistent with the mechanism posited in Pittaluga - Cama
(2004) according to which society formally endows the central bank with independence in order to
safeguard a key principle of democracy, namely that decision-makers should be clearly responsible
for their choices and actions.
This paper analyses the relationship between national economic conditions and public support
for the EU. Firstly, it proposes a simple conceptual framework, drawing on theories of utilitarian
support and on the recent political economic literature on integration processes. Subsequently, it tests
this framework against panel data on EU member countries. The findings show that economic benefits
and costs shape citizens’ attitudes towards EU membership, but with differences over time and
space. Our analysis challenges some previous findings of the literature on aggregate public support
for the EU and may also shed some light on the problems encountered during ratification of the
This paper proposes a new objective methodology for analysing the verbatim transcripts of central
bank announcements. I apply a statistical method based on locally recurring word patterns, the
descending hierarchical classification algorithm, to identify the characteristic themes of the monthly
press conferences of the President of the ECB. The econometric evidence suggests that these press
conferences convey information to the public. Moreover, the reaction of market rates strongly depends
on the principal themes of the statement.
This paper sets up a small open economy model to compare the link between exchange rates
and interest rates under full and imperfect information. The informational friction considered here
corresponds to the case where the central bank, while failing to observe output and inflation, can extract
some information about these variables from the private sector (asymmetric information with
signal extraction). This informational friction generates an optimal deviation from the full information
outcome, with the realisation of a relatively less frequent shock leading the central bank to behave
as if a more likely disturbance had instead taken place. This indicates that policies that would
be optimal under full information are not optimal when knowledge is imperfect.
This discussion paper critically reviews a new book by Aoki and Yokishawa and presents some
of the techniques adopted by the authors as a new approach to the foundations of macroeconomics.
The paper discusses some of the main techniques of statistical mechanics relevant in this context,
namely the Master Equation and the Polya Urn. The former is a key instrument for deriving some
Keynesian results throughout the book, in particular the role of effective demand in stimulating the
economy; additionally, it is used to assess the role and significance of uncertainty and to re-examine
so-called «policy ineffectiveness», showing instead the positive contribution of an active economic
policy. The Polya Urn is used to show demand saturation as a growth limiting factor and demand
for new products as a growth-enhancing one, with the clear objective of linking the Keynesian principle
of effective demand (short term) with a long-term growth theory.