Daniel K. Tarullo, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Fed’s point person on financial regulation, gave the keynote address at the Cornell International Law Journal Symposium, The Changing Politics of Central Banks, on February 22 at the Cornell Club in New York City. Governor Tarullo called for central banks to consider financial stability when making monetary policy; saying this is necessary for both crisis response and crisis prevention. Speaking to a room of Cornell Law students, scholars, practitioners and journalists, he said, “We need to consider carefully the view that central banks should assess the effect of monetary policy on financial stability, and, in some instances, adjust their policy decisions to take account of these effects.”
Jack Barceló, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law and Elizabeth and Arthur Reich Director of the Leo and Arvilla Berger International Legal Studies Program, and Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology, gave the opening remarks on Friday evening, followed by Governor Tarullo. Both scholars and practitioners presented papers and participated in roundtable discussions the following day.
"The focus on central banks as political actors is clearly timely given the growing awareness of the public of the distributive effects of monetary policy and also the debates taking place in many countries around the world about the proper scope of independence for central banks," said Professor Riles. "The perspectives of the conference participants—academics and central bankers, mainly—varied considerably."
“We were particularly drawn to central banks as a topic because they affect both large institutions and individuals,” said Courtney Finerty '13, Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell International Law Journal who spearheaded the event with the Journal's Symposium Editors Diana Biller '13 and Connie Lam '13. “We wanted to pick a topic that would allow people from multiple backgrounds to come to the table and share their unique perspectives, and because central banks impact the lives of so many individuals, we felt it was an ideal subject.”
According to Finerty, it was the goal of the Symposium Committee to expose students to leading thinkers and practitioners in the area of financial governance and to impart the value of an inter-disciplinary approach to legal issues. Professors Annelise Riles and Robert Hockett, who were faculty advisors for the student organizers, conceived the sub-topics of the conference and helped bring scholars and practitioners to the event.
“Of course the stars here were the students who put this remarkable event together and then enabled everything to run so gracefully,” Professor Hockett said. “Cornell could not be more blessed, to have such students as these.”