Les banquiers centraux, ces célébrités

CAMBRIDGE – Pourquoi les commentaires des banquiers centraux des principales économies attirent-ils une attention aussi démesurée de nos jours ? Ce n’est pas comme s’ils changeaient les taux d'intérêt sans arrêt. Ils n’ont pas non plus développé de nouveaux modèles plus robustes pour analyser l'économie. Au contraire, les prévisions de croissance et d'inflation des grandes banques centrales durant les années qui ont suivi la crise financière ont constamment surestimé aussi bien la croissance que l'inflation – et ce, très largement.

Il y a beaucoup de bonnes raisons derrière l'attention portée aux décideurs de politique monétaire, y compris l'augmentation de l'indépendance de la banque centrale, l'acceptation par le public de la nécessité de nommer des technocrates très compétents pour superviser l'offre de monnaie et l'approfondissement des marchés financiers. De plus, de nombreux banquiers centraux ont été loués à juste titre pour leur rôle dans la prévention d'une crise mondiale pendant la crise financière.

Ceci étant dit, compte tenu des nombreuses incertitudes entourant les prévisions macro-économiques et les effets des instruments politiques (en particulier concernant les mesures d’assouplissement quantitatif), de nombreux universitaires estiment qu'il est curieux que les discours et déclarations des banquiers centraux génèrent une telle fanfare. En outre, malgré leurs exploits pendant la crise financière, de nombreuses banques centrales ont été beaucoup trop rigides durant la sortie de crise, se souciant trop du dépassement des objectifs d'inflation et trop peu des dynamiques déflationnistes. Enfin, les banques centrales sont au départ partiellement responsables de la crise, principalement en raison d’une politique de réglementation laxiste.

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