Unraveling the Pathways: Exploring Extra-Institutional Financial Influence and Intra-Institutional

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The research goal is to clarify the scope of, and limitations to, contemporary financial political power and ECB entrepreneurship. The research question is: ‘What explains the ECB's increased involvement in financial regulations since the Euro crisis?’ Bayesian process tracing is used as a method. The main hypothesis (H1) concerns extra-institutional financial influence, the rival hypothesis (H2) regards intra-institutional entrepreneurship, and the combined hypothesis (H3) considers both. Ten cases get assessed: ECB’s increased oversight of eurozone banks and financial institutions, low interest rates, quantitative easing, bailouts, internal risk-modelling and banking supervision, high frequency trading and the financial transaction tax, the climate risk stress test, lobbying fora, advisory groups and financial associations. For each case, the strength and direction of the evidence is determined by applying four Bayesian process tracing tests to establish causal inference. The total sum of all cases determines whether H1, H2 or H3 gets confirmed. The conclusion is that: ‘The ECB’s increased involvement in financial regulatory matters since the Euro crisis is primarily caused by extra-institutional financial influence but sometimes by intra-institutional ECB entrepreneurship.’ The main academic contribution is the discovery of ECB entrepreneurship as another determinant of ECB’s increased involvement in financial regulations since the Euro crisis and not solely financial influence. Second, this research showed that central banks are more susceptible to political and financial influences than their legal independent status reveals. Third, the expectation that independent central banks will be more inflation-averse than the government is in contestable since ECB’s policies did contribute to inflation.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen