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.
Policymakers' uneasiness about granting independence to financial sector regulators stems to a large extent from the lack of familiarity with, and elusiveness of, the concept of accountability. This paper gives operational content to accountability and argues that it is possible to do so in a way that encourages and supports agency independence. The paper first elaborates on the role and purposes of accountability. Second, it shows that the unique features of financial sector supervision point to a more complex system of accountability arrangements than, for instance, the conduct of monetary policy. Finally, the paper discusses specific arrangements that can best secure the objectives of accountability and, thus, independence. Our findings have a wider application than financial sector supervision.