The Encyclopedia of Central Banking. Edited by Louis-Philippe Rochon and Sergio Rossi. Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2015. 510 pages. $245 (ISBN: 978-1-78254-743-3). E-book available (978-1-78254-744-0).

Rochon is an Associate Professor of Economics, at Laurentian University, in Ontario, Canada, where he is Director of the International Economic Policy Institute. His areas of research include monetary theory and policy, financialization, and post-Keynesian economics. Rossi, is a Full Professor of Economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, where he holds the Chair of Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics, and Senior Research Associate at the International Economic Policy Institute at Laurentian University in Canada. The two editors have co-authored several articles together and now have edited this reference work.

In this encyclopedia Rochon and Rossi state the aim to be “providing a critical understanding of central banking, based on a plural perspective on several issues at both theoretical and policy-oriented levels” (xxviii). The title work intends to “explain the complexity of monetary-policy interventions, their conceptual as well as institutional frameworks, and their own limits and drawbacks” (xxviii).

The encyclopedia starts with a table of contents that lists each entry, the author of the entry and the page number. After the table of contents comes this list of contributors with their affiliation. There is no index and the last page of the volume is the last entry.

The entries are all about two pages long and contain “See Also” referrals as well as references for further reading. Most of the entries cover concepts in banking. One can read about central bank credibility, financial instability, money creation, price-level targeting and more. There are entries that discuss historical and contemporary people such as Keynes, Marx, Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) and Mario Draghi (President of the Central European Bank). Information is given on individual banks such as Norges Bank (central bank of Norway) and the Reserve Bank of India. The entries are clearly written so that someone who has no knowledge of the topic can understand.

Unfortunately, there is no visual depiction of how the central banking system works. There is no text to try and connect the information presented in the encyclopedia, and there is nothing to help the reader understand how all the concepts fit together. It would be useful for a user who is just starting research on central banks to get a feel for the subject area. The editors could have tried to include value-added material, such as an essay that explains the history of the central banking system and its challenges in light of recent economic problems of countries such as Greece and Spain. As it is, this is a straight forward reference book of banking-related terms and concepts. Recommended for general readers, public libraries and undergraduates.—Stacey Marien, Acquisitions Librarian, American University, Washington, DC


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