Demystifying central bankers: political affinity, cultural heritage, and technical expertise

Ricardo Jose Salas Diaz, Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Economic History, Economy and Society, History of Economic Thought, Political Economy
Keywords - Central Banks, Monetary History, Culture, Scientization, Political Appointments

Central banks are the most influential non-elected organizations empowered with public functions in modern states. The dissertation aims to elucidate the background of central bankers and how these backgrounds affect the evolution of these institutions. The three chapters of this dissertation are: 1) Affinity to the Ruler: Does it Matter for Appointing Central Bankers? In this chapter, I gather and compare educational and professional information about central bankers and political leaders to establish similarities and differences between the two groups on three levels: central bank governors and the heads of state of 152 different countries, central bank board members and political leaders from five Latin American countries, historical information of the board of the Banco de la República and cabinet ministers in Colombia since 1991.
2) Why do central bankers promote cultural institutions? National heritage meets economic policy. In this chapter, I use interviews with former central bank officials and archival records to present the motivations that led to the creation and evolution of the cultural institutions of the Banco de la República through 20 events in the history of the Banco de la República.
3) Between the Technical and the Political: Economists and Economics as expert knowledge at the Banco de la República 1923 – 2005. With Juan Acosta and Rebeca Gómez Betancourt, using a prosopographic database, archival research, interviews, and bibliometrics, we narrate the evolution of the economists’ role, the rise of economic tools within the bank, and the bank’s role in forming the Colombian technocracy since its foundation.