About the Author

Sir Paul Tucker is chair of the Systemic Risk Council, a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and author of Unelected Power (Princeton University Press, 2018). His other activities include being a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; president of the UK’s National Institute for Economic and Social Research; a director at Swiss Re; a member of the Board of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, and a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation. For over thirty years he was a central banker, and a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee from 2002. He was Deputy Governor from 2009 to late 2013, including serving on the Financial Policy Committee (vice chair) and Prudential Regulatory Authority Board (vice chair). Internationally, he was a member of the steering committee of the G20 Financial Stability Board, and chaired its Committee on the Resolution of Cross-Border Banks to solve “too big to fail”. He was a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and was chair of the Basel Committee for Payment and Settlement Systems from April 2012.

Book Description

Central bankers have emerged from the financial crisis as the third great pillar of unelected power alongside the judiciary and the military. They pull the regulatory and financial levers of our economic well-being, yet unlike democratically elected leaders, their power does not come directly from the people. Unelected Power lays out the principles needed to ensure that central bankers, technocrats, regulators, and other agents of the administrative state remain stewards of the common good and do not become overmighty citizens.

Paul Tucker draws on a wealth of personal experience from his many years in domestic and international policymaking to tackle the big issues raised by unelected power, and enriches his discussion with examples from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union. Blending economics, political theory, and public law, Tucker explores the necessary conditions for delegated but politically insulated power to be legitimate in the eyes of constitutional democracy and the rule of law. He explains why the solution must fit with how real-world government is structured, and why technocrats and their political overseers need incentives to make the system work as intended. Tucker explains how the regulatory state need not be a fourth branch of government free to steer by its own lights, and how central bankers can emulate the best of judicial self-restraint and become models of dispersed power.

Like it or not, unelected power has become a hallmark of modern government. This critically important book shows how to harness it to the people's purposes.