Eric Monnet, Dr.
Professor of Economics
École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris
Paris School of Economics
Born in 1983 in Angers, France
Studied Economics at the EHESS and Paris School of Economics
Powering Capitalism. Revisiting the History of Central Banks (19th–21th Centuries)Central banks are key economic and political institutions. They are at the heart of financial systems and money creation. Their actions have considerable consequences for macroeconomic and financial stability, inequality, and the financing of governments. My project is to write a history of central banks as an engine of capital accumulation and financial development. Three main actions of central banks have been crucial for this purpose: (i) anchoring and stabilizing expectations about the long-run value of money (price and exchange rate stability); (ii) ensuring liquidity in money and financial markets; and (iii) lending to certain agents (including non-financial institutions, such as firms or the state) to foster investment and capital accumulation, and sometimes discriminating between markets to influence the allocation of capital. These actions have taken different forms over time, depending on the financial system and its relationship with the state. Scholars have described at length the role of central banks in ensuring currency convertibility, the security of the payments system, and – later in the 20th century – the implementation of macroeconomic stabilization policies. The importance of central banks in the development of financial systems and the allocation of investments is less well known. We lack a general and comparative perspective on this kind of policies over the long run. The monetary and financial spheres are not independent. Managing money through interest rates, lending, or credit control confers financial power on certain public or private actors. This is where the history of central banking and the history of capitalism meet.
Monnet, Eric. Controlling Credit: Central Banking and the Planned Economy in Postwar France, 1948–1973. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Baubeau, Patrice, Eric Monnet, Angelo Riva, and Stefano Ungaro. “Flight‐to‐Safety and the Credit Crunch: A New History of the Banking Crises in France during the Great Depression.” The Economic History Review 74, no. 1 (2021): 223–250.
Monnet, Eric. La Banque-providence: Démocratiser les banques centrales et la monnaie. Éditions du Seuil, 2021. English: Banks of Providence: Central Banks and the Future of Democracies. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2023.