Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 695: Determinants of Trust in the European Central Bank

Justina AV Fischer () and Volker Hahn ()
Additional contact information
Justina AV Fischer: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Volker Hahn: ETH Zurich, Postal: CER-ETH Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich,, Zürichberstrasse 18, , CH-8092 Zurich, , Switzerland

Abstract: In this paper we study the determinants of citizens’ trust in the European Central Bank during the start-up phase from 1999-2004. Using a country panel based on the Eurobarometer survey, we find that higher inflation rates reduce trust. Thus people appear to evaluate the performance of the ECB on the basis of its success in achieving its primary objective, namely price stability. However, national income also has a strong impact, which poses a dilemma to the ECB, as there is a general consensus among academics that monetary policy cannot increase economic growth in the long run. Unemployment does not have a significant impact on trust in the ECB, while unemployment spending exerts a trust-building impact. Possibly, automatic stabilizers serve as substitutes for ECB interventions, which would lower people’s trust. Interestingly, active labor market policies, which can be interpreted as proxies for the public’s perception of the urgency of the problem of high unemployment, tend to decrease trust.

Keywords: ECB; trust; European Union; Eurobarometer; panel data; behavioral economics

JEL-codes: C33; E58; H50; Z13

30 pages, March 19, 2008

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