Monetary policy is no game, but ECB's "Economia" is

Wed Dec 8, 2010 2:55pm EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - The European Central Bank (ECB) has ditched the traditional economics textbook and is attempting to convert the Facebook and Twitter generation to the joys of monetary policy with two new computer games.

The ECB's new monetary policy game "Economia" gives players a taste of life as an ECB banker, requiring them to spot and thwart inflation from breaching the central bank's target level.

"We expect the games to make this institution and its activities more accessible," ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said at the launch event on Wednesday.

"The game is a simplification of what we do here at the ECB," said ECB Web expert Marcello Di Pietro. "It simplifies real life."

Trichet said the games would serve their purpose if players realized he and his colleagues had a tough job. "In real life it is challenging to keep inflation low and stable," he said.

The other game launched on Wednesday -- "Inflation Island" -- aims to show the impact inflation has on society and how people react to it.

The European Central Bank, which sets interest rates for the 16 countries that use the single European currency called the euro, has the primary mandate of keeping inflation in check but has been forced into taking extraordinary measures to cushion the impact of the global financial crisis.

Trichet said it was important for everyone to understand what was involved in the ECB's decisions.

(To play games go to ECB's website. (

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)