The ECB would benefit from less gender discrimination

Open Letter 08 October 2012

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In July 2012, the Eurogroup nominated Mr Yves Mersch, Governor of the Central Bank of Luxembourg, to replace Mr José Manuel González Páramo, whose term at the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) expired in late May. Following a wave of four appointments over little more than one year, the Executive Board will not have another position open for renewal until June 2018. If this appointment is confirmed and assuming no resignation in the meantime, all six of its members will be male, as has been the case since last year. This stands in contrast with the ECB’s first 12 years, when Ms Sirkka Hämäläinen (1999-2003) and Ms Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell (2003-2011) successively sat on the Executive Board. The wider Governing Council, which brings together the Executive Board and the governors of national central banks, includes 23 men and not a single woman.

As economists who follow the ECB’s work closely, we cannot understand that it will have proven impossible over the last four appointments to find at least one suitable female candidate in the Eurozone. As citizens, we fear that such a situation would be widely and rightly seen as proof of a systemic bias in against women when it comes to the highest places in office.

Under the procedure for such appointments, the European Parliament makes a recommendation to the European Council, which makes the final decision. To express its disapproval, the Parliament has delayed its hearing. The council may decide to formally confirm the appointment without the European Parliament having expressed its opinion. Press reports suggest that this could happen at the October meeting of the council.

We urge the Eurogroup to reconsider their position and nominate a qualified female candidate, maybe in addition to the current nominee. We urge the heads of state and government to consider the damage an all-male Governing Council would make to the cause of gender equality.

Economists who wish to add their names to this open letter should send an email to charles.wyplosz@graduateinstitute.ch.

List of signatories (alphabetical order):

Elisabetta Addis (LUISS Guido Carli)
Karl Aiginger (Austrian Institute of Economic Research)
Alberto Alesina (Harvard University)
Carlo Altomonte (Bocconi University)
Edmond Alphandéry (Euro 50)
Barbara Annicchiarico (University of Rome 'Tor Vergata')
Tomasso Aquilante (ECARES)
Kate Barker (Former member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England)
Agnès Bénassy-Quéré (Paris School of Economics)
Laurence Boone (Bank of America)
Willem Buiter (Former member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England)
Elena Carletti (European University Institute)
Wendy Carlin (University College London)
Stefan Collignon (Sant’Anna School of International Studies, Pisa)
Laura Coroneo (University of York)
Marcella Corsi (Sapienza University of Rome)
Guillermo de la Dehesa (Centre for Economic Policy Research)
Jacques Delpla (Conseil de l’Activité Economique)
Juan Dolado (Universidad Carlos III)
Sebastian Dullien (HTW, Berlin)
Henrik Enderlein (Hertie School of Governance)
Clemens Fuest (Oxford University)
Claude Giorno (OECD)
Paul de Grauwe (London School of Economics)
Francesco Giavazzi (Bocconi University)
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (UC Berkeley and SciencesPo)
Dominique Graber (BNP Paribas)
Philippe Gudin de Vallerin (Barclays)
Andre Guettler (EBS Business School)
Bronwyn H Hall (University of California, Berkeley)
Gikas A Hardouvelis (University of Piraeus)
Peter Jarrett (OECD)
Gebhard Kirchgässner (University of St Gallen)
Wilhelm Kohler (University of Tübingen)
Christian Kopf (CEPS)
Anne Lavigne (University of Orléans)
Olivier Lecomte (Ecole Centrale, Paris)
Domenico Lombardi (Oxford Institute for Economic Policy)
Brian Lucey (Trinity College Dublin)
Lauri Luiker (Estonian Business School)
Philippe Martin (Institut des Sciences Politiques, Paris)
Benedicta Marzinotto (University of Udine and Bruegel)
Dominique Meurs (University of Paris)
Erik F Nielsen (Unicredit)
Kevin O'Rourke (Oxford University)
Jon Kristian Pareliussen (OECD)
Jean Pisani-Ferry (University Paris Dauphine)
Richard Portes (CEPR and London Business School)
Lucrezia Reichlin (London Business School)
Hélène Rey (London Business School)
Rafael Repullo (CEMFI, Madrid)
Jean François Robin (Natixis)
Annalisa Rosselli (University of Rome)
Mariacristina Rossi (University of Turin)
Waltraud Schelkle (London School of Economics)
Vivien Schmidt (Boston University)
Daniela Schwarzer (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik)
Laurence Scialom (University of Paris)
Anne Sibert (Birkbeck College)
Annamaria Simonazzi (Sapienza University of Rome)
Piritta Sorsa (OECD)
Jia Lyng Tang (University of Sao Paulo)
Ivan Van de Cloot (Itinera Institute, Brussels)
Nicolas Véron (Bruegel and Peterson Institute for International Economics)
Ulrich Volz (SOAS)
Charles Wyplosz (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)

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Topics:  EU institutions Gender

Tags:  ECB board, female governors

Economists are encouraged to add their signatures to this letter