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博士学位并非亚洲央行行长必备条件

更新时间:2014-2-16 9:41:28 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Few Ph.Ds Among Asian Central Bankers
博士学位并非亚洲央行行长必备条件

Recent talk about the U.S. Federal Reserve has highlighted the fact that a doctorate in economics now seems to be a prerequisite to run the U.S. central bank.

It even seems that some politicians view commercial banking experience as something to be wary of when sizing up a potential Fed candidate.

Fed vice nominee chairman Stanley Fischer -- a Ph.D economist himself -- spent several years of a long and distinguished career at Citigroup. Some U.S. senators say they want to ask Mr. Fischer more about his time on Wall Street.

The picture is far different in Asia, where only two of the region's central bank governors -- Bank Negara Malaysia's Zeti Akhtar Aziz and the Bank of Korea's Kim Choongsoo -- have doctorates in economics. (Both from the University of Pennsylvania.)

Nor is there much of a pattern of hiring former investment bankers. Rather, Asian central banks' leadership tend to be drawn more from government bureaucracies or commercial banking -- even from engineering or law school. Many have spent virtually their entire careers working their way up the rungs of the central bank they now lead.

Does that make a difference in the way monetary policy is conducted in Asia? It just might.

'If you take more commercial bankers, perhaps there's a bias to run a more business-friendly monetary policy, which at the margin might be less inflation-focused and more pro-growth,' HSBC economist Frederic Neumann said. 'It might also mean there's a tendency to be more condoning of rapid increases in credit growth, whereas economists tend to be more inflation hawks, and they take a sterner view of the risk of asset bubbles.'

As a case in point, he mentioned Raghuram Rajan, the former International Monetary Fund chief economist (with a doctorate in management from MIT) who took over the Reserve Bank of India in August. Mr. Rajan immediately stamped his imprint on the RBI by raising interest rates at his first two policy meetings to fight surging inflation, even as India's economic growth was slowing to multiyear lows.

The moves helped stabilize the slumping rupee currency and, several months later, are succeeding in curbing inflation.

Of course, no central bank head operates in a vacuum: They're supported by legions of staffers who in some cases may have more impressive academic credentials than the leaders they serve. And they typically head policy boards whose other members bring other types of experience to the table.

In Japan, for example, the government chooses the Bank of Japan's nine-member board to ensure adequate representation from the worlds of officialdom, business and academia. Current Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda spent most of his career as a bureaucrat in Japan's Ministry of Finance before running the Manila-based Asian Development Bank for eight years.

How has that worked out?

'If you compare and contrast whether the U.S. approach or the Japanese approach gives a better result,' Bank of Singapore chief economist Richard Jerram said, 'getting people who are competent seems better than getting people who are representative.'

Still, it's an open question whether the central bank is better off if its leader is an academic or someone with more hands-on experience in the financial world.

Ben Bernanke had no experience as a banker, yet his academic background -- as one of the foremost experts on the Great Depression -- proved invaluable as he navigated the Fed though the extreme turbulence of the global financial crisis.

'From that point of view, he was the right man for the job at the right time,' Mr. Baig said. 'He almost trained for this job his entire career.'

Others have been more critical of Mr. Bernanke, saying the massive expansion of the monetary base under his watch didn't have much of an effect on unemployment and has undermined the Fed's independence.

One wrinkle for Asian central bankers is that they're working with less data -- and often of far poorer quality -- than their Western counterparts have at their fingertips.

That might argue for having a central bank leader with close ties to the financial or business worlds, rather than an academic.

'To some extent central banking in Asia is more art than science. You're flying with one eye closed because of a lack of data clarity, so you need to have a considerable dose of intuition to kind of sense what the economy needs,' HSBC's Mr. Neumann said. 'It might be that a commercial banker or somebody who has worked in business has a better sense of the where the economy is going, he may have contacts in the business world or have worked in the private sector. From that perspective, perhaps it's understandable that in Asia there are fewer economist Ph.Ds running the show.'

近来对美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve,简称:美联储)的议论已彰显出这样一个事实:目前经济学博士学位似乎成了就职美联储的必备条件。

而且似乎一些政客认为商业银行履历是筛选美联储官员候选人时要慎重考量的某种要素。

被提名为美联储副主席的斯坦利•费希尔(Stanley Fischer)本人就是经济学博士,在他长期、耀眼的职业生涯中,有几年是在花旗集团(Citigroup)度过的。一些美国参议员说,他们希望对费希尔在华尔街的任职经历有更深入的了解。

亚洲的情况则完全不同,该地区仅有两个国家的央行行长拥有经济学博士学位。他们是:马来西亚央行(Bank Negara Malaysia)央行行长泽提(Zeti Akhtar Aziz)和韩国央行(Bank of Korea)行长金仲秀(Kim Choongsoo),两人均获得宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)经济学博士学位。

聘请前投资银行家担任央行行长的例子也不多。亚洲国家央行的领导人多来自政府官员或商业银行高管,甚至还有出身工程或法律的领导。许多人实际上已基本耗尽了职业生涯才升到现在央行行长的职位。

这会对货币政策的制定构成影响吗?答案是:可能会。

汇丰(HSBC)经济学家范力民(Frederic Neumann)说,如果央行管理层中选择更多有商业银行背景的银行家,那么货币政策可能更利好商业,从边际考量出发,货币政策可能对通胀的重视就不够,而是更利于促进经济增长;这可能意味着央行对信贷快速增长有更大宽容度,但另一种情况是,央行经济学家们更重视通胀问题,对资产泡沫风险持更严苛的态度。

作为一个恰当的例子,范力民提到了国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund,简称:IMF)前首席经济学家拉詹(Raghuram Rajan),他从麻省理工(MIT)的管理学院获得博士学位。去年8月份他开始执掌印度央行(Reserve Bank of India)。即便印度经济增速放慢至多年低点,但拉詹仍立即体现了他的意志,在上任后的头两次货币政策会议上加息,来对抗大幅上升的通胀。

这些举措有助稳定大幅下挫的印度卢比,数月后,有效地抑制了通胀。

当然,没有哪位央行行长在真空条件下工作:行长手下有大批工作人员,他们在某些领域可能比其上司拥有更高的学历。央行行长们通常领导政策理事会,理事会的其他成员提供其他领域的经验以供参考。

以日本为例,政府为日本央行(Bank of Japan)选择9名理事会成员,确保充分体现政府官员、企业界和学术领域的意见。现任日本央行行长黑田东彦(Haruhiko Kuroda)职业生涯的大部分时间担任日本财务省官员,在随后的8年中在亚洲开发银行(Asian Development Bank)担任行长。

其效果如何呢?

新加坡银行(Bank of Singapore)首席经济学家杰拉姆(Richard Jerram)说,如果你对美国选人方式和日本选人方式的效果进行比较和对比,那么聘用有能力的人似乎比聘用有代表性的人更好。

至于是来自学术界的央行行长更好,还是具有更多金融业实际经验的央行行长更好,这依旧没有答案。

贝南克(Ben Bernanke)没有在银行从业的经历,但他的学术背景被证明是无价的,因为在他掌舵下,美联储经受住了全球金融危机震荡的考验。贝南克是研究大萧条的学术权威之一。

杰拉姆说,从这个角度来卡,贝南克是美联储在正确时间派任主席的正确人选。他还说,在贝南克整个职业生涯中,他的工作几乎都算得上是为担任美联储主席而进行的锻炼。

其他一些人士对贝南克持更加批评的态度。他们称,在贝南克管理美联储时,货币基础的急剧扩张并未在较大程度上影响失业率,却削弱了美联储的独立性。

与西方国家的央行行长相比,亚洲的央行行长所面临的一个困难是要在数据更少的情况下开展工作,而且这些数据的质量通常也低得多。

从这一点来看,央行行长可能更有理由是一位与金融业或企业界有密切联系的人士,而不是一位学者。

汇丰的范力民称,从一定程度上说,在亚洲管理一家央行更像是艺术,而不是科学;由于数据缺乏透明度,你将闭着一只眼睛前进,因此你需要有很高的直觉去感知经济需要什么。他说,商业银行人士或者一些商界人士可能对经济走向有着更好的感觉,因为这些人可能在商界有联系,或者在私营部门工作过;从这种角度来看,亚洲央行行长中鲜有经济学博士或许是可以理解的。

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