During the 20th century, the institution called central bank was diffused globally. However, central banking practices differed significantly between European market-based economies and developing economies. This paper traces the ideas and norms that shaped and legitimized central banking practices in the two areas. The paper argues that during the period from the 1940s to the 1970s two central banking policy norms existed: the liberal norm, which emerged in Europe, and the developmental central banking norm, which emerged in Latin America and diffused to East Asia. The paper seeks to trace the life cycles of the two norms: to specify the ideational content of each norm and to identify the actors and networks that produced, promoted and diffused them. The paper makes two contributions. First, theoretically, on the basis of Finnemore and Sikkink’s theory of international norms’ dynamics, it introduces a mechanism that explains the emergence and internationalization of an alternative international norm in the periphery that challenges the standard international norm. Second, it contributes to the literature on comparative regionalism by historicizing the liberal/European standard of central banking practices and by identifying the existence of an alternative standard for central banking practices in developing countries. The paper covers the period from the 1940s to the 1970s.