What Do Central Bankers Do? Evidence from the European Central Bank's Executive Board

Harald Badinger, Volker Nitsch

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

60 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines how managers at the top of a public institution, central bank executives, allocate their working time. Using detailed Information from personal diaries of the six members of the European Central Bank's Executive Board over a period of two years, we codify and analyze more than 3,700 reported activities and compare the results with recent findings on the time use of CEOs in the private sector. We report four additional observations. First, the daily schedule of central bankers is dominated by routine tasks; variations in economic uncertainty have, on average, no significant effect on the number of activities. Second, there are sizable differences in the scope of activities across board members. Third, the
change in publication rules of diary entries from 'on request' to 'regular' was associated with a significant decline in reported activities. Fourth, nationality matters: Board members interact disproportionately often with fellow nationals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

SeriesDepartment of Economics Working Paper Series

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 506004 European integration
  • 502025 Econometrics
  • 502047 Economic theory
  • 502003 Foreign trade
  • 502018 Macroeconomics

WU Working Paper Series

  • Department of Economics Working Paper Series

Cite this