The monetary and financial history of the inter-war years is one of the most evocative parts of the NBB Museum. “From uncontrolled economic booms to deep depression” is how the period could be summed up. The role played at this time by Paul van Zeeland (1893-1973) as an economist, central banker and politician is quite remarkable. A newly released research paper throws new light on his ideas.
Paul van Zeeland and the first decade of the US Federal Reserve System: The analysis from a European central banker who was a student of Kemmerer is the title of NBB Working Paper N° 339  that was released in March. The Phd Dissertation that the Belgian economist wrote after his studies in the United States in 1922 on the first ten years of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) is key to this research paper.
Co-authors Ivo Maes and Rebeca Gomez Betancourt look into the various positions taken by Paul van Zeeland in his analysis with regard to a wide range of elements: the need for the central banking system to be centralised, the degree of independence from the State, the institutional architecture of the system, or even the effectiveness of the central banking system in averting new financial crises. These are topics that are still highly pertinent today in the wider European context.