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Was the Monetarist Tradition Invented?

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  • George S. Tavlas

Abstract

In 1969, Harry Johnson charged that Milton Friedman 'invented' a Chicago oral quantity theory tradition, the idea being that in order to launch a monetarist counter-revolution, Friedman needed to establish a linkage with pre-Keynesian orthodoxy. This paper shows that there was a distinct pre-Keynesian Chicago quantity-theory tradition that advocated increased government expenditure during the Great Depression in order to put money directly into circulation. This policy stance distinguished the Chicago economists from other quantity theorists, leaving them less susceptible to the Keynesian revolution. Those who have been critical of Friedman's claim that his work derives from the earlier Chicago tradition have focused exclusively on Friedman's long-run empirical specification of money demand. Friedman's cyclical analysis is shown to be very much in the Chicago tradition. Other connections between Friedman's views and the Chicago tradition are also discussed.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.4.211
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 211-222

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:4:p:211-22

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.4.211
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  1. Aschheim, Joseph & Tavlas, George S, 1996. "Monetary Economics in Doctrinal Perspective: Review Essay," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 406-17, August.
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Cited by:
  1. George Tavlas, 2014. "In Old Chicago: Simons, Friedman and the Development of Monetary-Policy Rules," Working Papers, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics 2014-002, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
  2. Stephen Hall & P.A.V.B. Swamy & George S. Tavlas, 2012. "Milton Friedman, the Demand for Money and the ECB’s Monetary-Policy Strategy," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/05, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  3. Hugh Rockoff, 2006. "On the Origins of "A Monetary History"," NBER Working Papers 12666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. J. Bradford De Long, 2000. "The Triumph of Monetarism?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 83-94, Winter.
  5. Elias Papaioannou & Richard Portes, 2008. "The international role of the euro: a status report," European Economy - Economic Papers, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission 317, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  6. Hondroyiannis, George & Swamy, P. A. V. B. & Tavlas, George S., 2001. "Modelling the long-run demand for money in the United Kingdom: a random coefficient analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 475-501, August.

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