The likely extension of the euro area has triggered a debate on the organization of the ECB, in particular on the apparent mismatch between relative economic size and voting rights in the Council. We present a simple model of optimal representation in a federal central bank addressing this question. Optimal voting weights reflect two opposing forces: the wish to insulate common monetary policy from changing preferences at the national level, and the attempt to avoid an overly active or passive reaction to idiosyncratic national economic shocks. A perfect match between economic size and voting rights is rarely optimal, and neither is the one country, one vote principle. Empirically, there are indications that the pattern of over- and under-representation of member countries in the ECB Council might be extreme by the standards of the US Fed and German Bundesbank and not always optimal.
Central Bank Federal Central Bank currency union optimal representation voting ECB