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The politics of the European Central Bank: principal-agent theory and the democratic deficit

Elgie, Robert (2002) The politics of the European Central Bank: principal-agent theory and the democratic deficit. Journal of European Public Policy, 9 (2). pp. 186-200. ISSN 1350-1763

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The institutional design of the European Central Bank (ECB) has been the subject of considerable political debate. In particular, it has been argued that the Bank suffers from a 'democratic deficit'. This article applies the principal- agent approach to this debate so as to identify more dearly the logic that underpins the basic arguments about the democratic legitimacy of the ECB. Moreover, on the assumption that the Bank does suffer from a democratic deficit, the article also shows how principal-agent theory can point to the ways in which this problem may be addressed. Thus, the principal-agent approach is used as an heuristic device to help identify the empirical and normative claims that underpin the debate about the accountability of the ECB and how it might be reformed.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:accountability; delegation; democratic deŽ cit; ECB; principal– agent theory; shirking;
Subjects:Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Centre for International Studies (CIS)
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Official URL:
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:65
Deposited On:14 Dec 2006 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 30 Jan 2009 12:19

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