European Central Banking Workshop

logo_IES screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-12-49-40


Notification of accepted abstracts: 15.11.2016

Deadline for conference papers: 16.01.2017

Workshop date: 03.02.2017

The financial and economic crises since 2007 have pulled central banks into the spotlight, seeing them first fight financial panics, then recession and the threat of deflation. Consequently central bankers’ tool kits have changed substantially and now compromise instruments that go far beyond the setting of short-term interest rates. Never before have central banks been so critical for safeguarding market capitalism in times of economic and political challenges. In many places, central banking has become the only game in town (El-Erian 2016). In the words of Mario Draghi (2016): “With rare exceptions, monetary policy has been the only policy in the last four years to support growth.”

As a consequence central bankers, who normally pride themselves for being boring and cautious technocrats, now find themselves in the midst of fierce political debates. They have been blamed for overstepping their mandates, failing to prevent the last crisis, and setting the stage for the next one. Since it is increasingly recognized that monetary policies have hefty direct and indirect implications for governments’ general economic policies, central banks have become ever more political and politicized institutions.

Arguably, the European Central Bank (ECB) has undergone the greatest transformation – from single-minded inflation-fighter to lender of last resort to banks and governments. At the same time, it has become the most contested central bank in the Western world. As the world’s only central bank without a state, the ECB’s Governing Council comprises members from heterogeneous countries, with different business cycles and different economic problems. The contested issues the ECB faces range from the legality of its programs and the lender of last resort-function, to the TARGET mechanisms and implications of its monetary policies for fiscal policy and structural reforms in member countries.

Our workshop aims to produce new insights on the new role of central banking and its underlying economic and political features. As this brave new world of central banking increasingly attracts scholarly curiousness outside of the field of economics proper, we invite participation from all social sciences, including but not limited to political science and economic sociology.

We welcome papers analyzing central banks and central bank practices for the OECD area, with a particular emphasis on the following questions:

  • How are central banks themselves, their mandates and their positions in society transformed by the challenges of current macroeconomic conditions?
  • How can we account for differences and similarities in their responses to these challenges?
  • What does the increased importance of central banks and the direct and indirect side-effects of their new policies imply for their independence and accountability?

The workshop will be held on February 2nd (keynote and reception) and 3rd (paper presentations) 2017 at the Institute for European Studies (IES) of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

We particularly invite young scholars to participate! Accepted papers will be published in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal, and participants will have to agree to submit an original paper (of 6.000 – 8.000 words) for this purpose. The workshop is meant to be truly a workshop where participants present their papers and get thorough comments, stimulating revisions for the final versions.

We will finance travel and accommodation for the 7-8 accepted paper-givers.

To apply for participation, please send us a paper proposal of no more than 600 words clearly stating your main question, proposed argument, and the nature of the empirical support (if applicable) by 31 October 2016 (23:59, Pacific Time Zone).

The workshop is part of the activities of a collaborative project Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue (CETD) which is funded by SSHRC (

For questions and submission of paper proposals please contact:

Kurt Hübner

University of British Columbia

Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration

and Global Political Economy

Director, Institute for European Studies

1855 West Mall

Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1


Daniel F. Schulz

European University Institute


Department of Political and Social Sciences

Badia Fiesolana

Via dei Roccettini, 9 I

50014 San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy