The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper identifies issues to consider when designing the structure, size, and composition of the governing boards and management of a central bank. While central bank autonomy and accountability are generally accepted as good practice, there is less consensus regarding the structure, size, and composition of the governing bodies. This paper surveys 101 central bank laws covering 113 countries and classifies the governance structure according to degree of autonomy, functions performed, size, composition, appointment procedures, and terms of the members. The paper concludes that an appropriate balance must be struck between the functions of the governing entities, simplicity, and country specific factors. The functions of the various bodies follow logically if a greater appreciation exists for the type of autonomy delegated to the central bank.