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Justin Fox

Where the Economics Nobel Came From

It's the brainchild of a frustrated central banker.
Who will win this year?

Who will win this year?

Photographer: Soren Andersson/AFP/Getty Images

In 1951, U.S. central bankers re-established their autonomy after almost two decades of taking orders from the Treasury Department with the Treasury-Federal Reserve Accord. In 1955-56, the German Bundesbank, which had its autonomy guaranteed in the country’s new constitution, successfully withstood a political assault from Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

In Stockholm, the governor of the Riksbank, Per Åsbrink, looked on longingly. The Swedish central bank was directly controlled by the elected government. Åsbrink had been appointed by the Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlander in 1955, and was expected to do Erlander’s bidding.