Current Research Projects

Central Banks and Public Confidence after the Global Financial Crisis

This research project examines how central banks build public confidence in money through strategically employing what I call the stability narrative. This narrative asserts that central banks: 1) can maintain the value of money; 2) can maintain the security of money; 3) represent the nation; and 4) have grown increasingly professional and sophisticated – and thus better at their jobs - over time. I explore the stability narrative by studying its expression in central bank museums. More than 70 central banks around the world have their own museums. Museums tell stories; they distill, teach, and privilege the beliefs of their creators. As such, museums represent an ideal vehicle for understanding the ways in which central banks describe and promote their ability to govern money in the national interest. This task has become more difficult and more important since the global financial crisis, as central bankers increasingly rely upon communicative strategies in order to defend national and international monetary stability.

Financial Nationalism in Post-Communist Europe

Financial nationalism is an approach to a state’s monetary sector—its central and commercial banks, its fiscal and monetary policies, and its currency—that seeks to promote national wealth and sovereignty.  It can take several forms, but its advocates all see it as a way to circumvent the constraints of a Western-dominated international system. This research, conducted with Kent State political scientist Andrew Barnes, examines Hungarian, Polish, and Russian financial nationalism. It explores how these states can pursue such policies—including politicizing their central banks, attacking foreign lenders, and promoting domestic financial actors—despite opposition from global economic powers, notably the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Reluctant Masters: Central Bank Mandates and Discretionary Power

What do central bankers claim to have learned from the global financial crisis, and why? To what extent has their public discourse on learning evolved over time and differed across regions? Why and how do they so vigorously defend their operational independence and price stability mandates in the face of post-crisis criticism? University of Montreal political scientist Vincent Arel-Bundock and I investigate these questions through innovative automated textual analysis techniques that document and investigate patterns in central bankers’ strategic speech using a BIS database of over 12,000 speeches by high-ranking officials from 1997 to the present.

The Post-Communist Monuments Project

Along with McGill geographer Benjamin Forest, I conduct research on national identity in post-Communist states by examining political struggles over Soviet- and post-Soviet-era monuments and memorials. The project includes a database with information on monuments and memorials from 1989 to 2010 in twenty-six post-Communist states, as well as studies of individual sites and countries. The entire database, as well as a news feature, is available on our project website.


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