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Open for Business: Entrepreneurial Central Banks and the Cultivation of Market Liquidity

Abstract : In 2013, the Governor of the Bank of England heralded that the Bank of England is ‘open for business’: ready to buy and sell every asset it can value, thereby adjusting the role of the Bank of England to the demands of market-based finance. This article examines this re-articulation of the role of central banks in financial markets, situating it in the context of the recently enacted Basel III regulatory reforms. By placing a regulatory price on private liquidity provision, Basel III hampers broker-dealers’ market-making capacity and the liquidity of assets used as collateral in repo-transactions. The BoE aims to counter these fragilities of market-based finance, providing a potential backstop for market prices. Endorsing entrepreneurial principles, a hallmark of neoliberal reason, this hybrid mode of external and internal intervention establishes a new balance in the relationship between central banks and private market actors. Our paper complements analyses which showed that such liquidity-providing interventions of central banks are of institutional necessity by highlighting how regulators and central bankers engage with this task. We show that the ‘cultivation of market liquidity’ is driven by the intention to transform shadow-banking into a value for society, therefore accepting to engage in an admittedly risky investment.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:49:43 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:44:10 AM




Marius Birk, Matthias Thiemann. Open for Business: Entrepreneurial Central Banks and the Cultivation of Market Liquidity. New Political Economy, 2019, pp.Online. ⟨hal-02396145⟩



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