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充当替罪羊的央行

发自芝加哥—中央银行的独立性问题又再次成为了新闻。在美国,特朗普总统一直在指责美联储将利率维持在过高的水平,据报还探讨过把美联储主席杰罗姆·鲍威尔赶下台的可能性。在土耳其,总统埃尔多安解雇了中央银行行长。新行长现在正试图大幅降息。不过这也几乎算不上是最几月间民粹主义政府将目光投向中央银行的孤例了。

理论上,中央银行的独立性意味着货币政策制定者可以自由地做出一些不受欢迎但很有必要的决定,尤其是在打击通货膨胀和金融过热时,因为他们不必面对选民。而在面临类似决策时,民选官员总是倾向于采取更温和的回应而罔顾其长期成本。为避免这一状况,他们将直接干预货币和金融事务的任务交给了央行行长,让后者有权自行决定用何种方式实现政治机构所设定的目标。

这种安排使投资者对一个国家的货币和金融稳定更具信心,他们转而通过接受较低的债务利率来奖赏这一做法(及其政治机构)。从理论上讲这个国家至此将快乐地运行下去,伴随着低通胀和高金融部门稳定性。

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