Norges Bank has been an integrated part of Norwegian economic development from the complicated birth of the new nation-state after the Napoleonic wars to the present nouveau-richness of the Norwegian oil economy. This book traces its 200-year history, focusing on its relations with political institutions that have shaped and reshaped the bank's role since its establishment in 1816.
In the first fragile years of the new nation, Norges Bank took centre stage in the discussion on how to reconstruct a collapsed monetary system, and how trust and resources should support the core financial function of the State apparatus. The financial and political role of the bank came to the fore from the late 1800s and peaked during the turbulent interwar years of the 1920s, after which the bank became the foremost defender of the monetary order and the gold standard, in bitter conflict
with the emerging Labour Party. The blow that the Second World War delivered to central bank independence left the bank firmly subordinated to the Ministry of Finance. Not until 1986 was larger autonomy in monetary policy granted, and since then the bank's weight and responsibilities have continued to
expand with its position as manager of the Norwegian oil fund.
The bank's role has been largely defined by perceptions of what kind of financial services Norway needed, how economic policy was coordinated, and how discretionary power was distributed between the elected bodies, the executive branch, and underlying institutions with a defined mandate. The central aim of this book is to trace and explain these changes over the past two centuries.