Working Paper Series

The Einaudi Center's Working Paper Series offers scholars an opportunity to publicize their work and stimulate discussion on a wide range of topics. Cornell faculty from any department, school, or college may submit papers; we are also happy to consider papers presented at conferences, workshops, seminars, and other events at Cornell by affiliated or visiting scholars.

The most recent working papers are listed below. The complete series is available for download on the Cornell Library's eCommons site

The Changing Politics of Central Banking: A Legal Perspective

Part 4 of the Changing Politics of Central Banking Series

Marcelo M. Prates


Central banks around the world emerged from the financial crisis in a curious situation. On the one hand, central banks were criticized because they had not been able to anticipate or prevent the crisis. On the other hand, central banks were called on to lead the way to economic recovery, using unprecedented means if necessary. We can, thus, tell two different, even opposite tales of central banks after the financial crisis. One of losing prominence, and the other of becoming the most powerful institution of our times. And both accounts are very true. How is that possible? This white paper reviews the legal literature in search of answers to this question. It starts by revisiting the issue of central bank independence and looking at how the different branches of government now interact with central banks. The paper also explores the legal questions associated with central banks making use of unconventional tools.

PDF icon Prates WP 06-2016 final.pdf

The Global Politics of Central Banking: A View from Political Science

Part 3 of the Changing Politics of Central Banking Series

Erin Lockwood


This paper reviews the political science literature on central banking from the early 1990s through the present, paying particular attention to the explicit or implicit conception of politics in the works reviewed. I begin by reviewing rationalist approaches to central bank independence from both the policy supply and demand sides. In the second section, I review literature that challenges and critiques this rationalist/institutionalist paradigm and its assumptions. The third section reviews studies that locate politics within central banks themselves and that analyze decision-making processes therein. The final section builds on the strengths of the existing literature to outline a future trajectory for political science scholarship on the global politics of central banking, one that incorporates a more sophisticated conception of politics and that is attentive to the post-crisis world in which transnational forces, governing ideas and worldviews, unconventional monetary policy, and non-monetary policy central bank functions are of paramount importance.

PDF icon Lockwood WP 05-2016 final.pdf

Challenges Confronting Central Bankers Today

Part 2 of the Changing Politics of Central Banking Series

Adam Hayes


The role of central banks in today’s global economy cannot be understated. These institutions hold great influence over important pieces of the economic engine, which in turn impact financial flows, access to credit, prices and global trade. Since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the influence of central bank policymakers has only grown greater. Unprecedented actions and emergency measures have been taken to stabilize what otherwise could have been a global economic depression to rival the 1930’s. This paper reviews five questions that today’s central bankers face: whether to adhere to a rules-based monetary policy; if central banks should step into stabilize markets (e.g. QE); the importance of inflation targeting; the role of central bank independence; and the use of negative interest rates. Each of these issues is presented with arguments both in favor and against, empirical evidence to their effectiveness, as well as their possible unintended consequences and interconnectedness.

PDF icon Hayes WP 04-2016 final.pdf

Constructing and Maintaining Legitimacy: Sociological Perspectives of the Politics of Central Banking

Part 1 of the Changing Politics of Central Banking Series

Megan Doherty Bea


This working paper reviews central banking research produced in sociology and anthropology, most of which has been published in the last five to ten years. These studies focus on institutional structures and social and cultural processes that shape central bank activity, with significant attention to the ways in which central banks seek to legitimate their actions. I outline key themes that have emerged, including central banks’ internal decision-making and analysis of the international pressures they face. I review research examining the ways in which central bankers are influenced by one another, use performative rhetoric to manage the market, and engage in relational work with a variety of actors as they seek to maintain their legitimacy. This research is an important complement to traditional central banking research published in the fields of economics, political science, and law, and underscores the complexity involved in the day-to-day operations of central banks.

PDF icon Doherty WP 03-2016 final.pdf

Georgia in His Mind: A Cognitive Explanation for George W. Bush’s Decision-Making in the 2008 August War

Lisel Hintz


This paper explores the case of US President George W. Bush’s unwavering support for the Republic of Georgia in its aggressive engagement with Russia during the 2008 August War, a nearly universally acknowledged judgment error that puzzled Bush’s own team as much as it did foreign policy analysts. Finding explanations grounded in alliance behavior, audience costs, and resource security inadequate, the paper offers a cognitive heuristics account that focuses on the fundamental attribution error (FAE). Examining how the FAE can function in terms of assessing the actions of perceived friends reveals Bush’s failure to update his beliefs about the increasingly erratic behavior of Georgian President and Bush confidante Mikhail Saakashvili. In presenting an explanation for this empirical puzzle, the paper contributes a new perspective on the FAE of use in the burgeoning literature employing psychological approaches to foreign policy outcomes.

PDF icon HINTZ WP 2-16 FINAL.pdf

Mapping the Contours of Identity Contestation: Hybridization, Polarization, and Self-Marginalization

Lisel Hintz


This paper is part of a larger project that forays into the murky waters of sub-national identity contestation, understood here as struggles among members of a state’s population who support competing various proposals for the content of that state’s national identity. The paper attempts to capture these contours, map their shifts, and parse out the mechanisms by which these changes occur in Turkey, a state with multiple, politically salient identity cleavages. To do so, the paper analyzes these three key episodes that each constitute major challenges to the ruling party’s pursuit of identity hegemony for its own proposal of Ottoman Islamism. Each of these challenges shaping the contours of Turkey’s identity debates over the course of just two years (May 2013 – May 2015) represents a different dynamic of identity contestation: hybridization of opposition demonstrators during the Gezi Protests, polarization among supporters of the AKP and the Gülen Movement, and self-marginalization of the AKP through its increasingly radical rhetoric. Drawing from a wide array of popular culture and social media sources as well as interviews, surveys, and participant observation, the analysis provides new insight into the vernacular politics of identity in contemporary Turkey, while contributing to wider studies of social movements and contentious politics through its examination of various mechanisms of change.

PDF icon HINTZ WP 1-16 FINAL.pdf