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Monetary policy: why money matters and interest rates don't

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  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

Monetary policy is now conducted by targeting a very short-term interest rate. The Fed and other central banks attempt to control the price level by manipulating aggregate demand by adjusting their interest rate target. At best, money's role is tertiary. Indeed, a few prominent and influential macroeconomists have suggested that money is not essential, or perhaps is irrelevant, for the determination of the price level. Against this backdrop, this paper argues that the essential feature of money is that it guarantees "final payment" and is essential for price determination. It also suggests that the ability of the central banks to control interest rates may be greatly exaggerated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2008-011.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-011

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Keywords: Monetary policy;

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  9. Reynard, Samuel, 2007. "Maintaining low inflation: money, interest rates, and policy stance," Working Paper Series 0756, European Central Bank.
  10. Giorgio Valente & Daniel Thornton & Lucio Sarno, 2005. "The Empirical Failure of the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Bond Yields," Working Papers wp05-13, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
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  13. Della Corte, Pasquale & Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L., 2008. "The expectation hypothesis of the term structure of very short-term rates: Statistical tests and economic value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 158-174, July.
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  20. Daniel L. Thornton, 2005. "When did the FOMC begin targeting the federal funds rate? what the verbatim transcripts tell us," Working Papers 2004-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  21. Daniel L. Thornton, 2001. "Identifying the liquidity effect at the daily frequency," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 59-82.
  22. Mervyn King, 1999. "Challenges for monetary policy : new and old," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-57.
  23. Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "How did we get to inflation targeting and where do we need to go to now? a perspective from the U.S. experience," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 65-81.
  24. Daniel L. Thornton, 2004. "Tests of the expectations hypothesis: resolving the anomalies when the short-term rate is the federal funds rate," Working Papers 2000-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  25. Michael Woodford, 2000. "Monetary Policy in a World Without Money," NBER Working Papers 7853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  27. Forni, Mario & Lippi, Marco, 1997. "Aggregation and the Microfoundations of Dynamic Macroeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288008.
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  37. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
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  40. Nelson, Edward, 2007. "Comment on: Samuel Reynard, "Maintaining low inflation: Money, interest rates, and policy stance"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1472-1479, July.
  41. Thornton, Daniel L., 2004. "The Fed and short-term rates: Is it open market operations, open mouth operations or interest rate smoothing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 475-498, March.
  42. David Laidler, 2003. "Monetary Policy without Money: Hamlet without the Ghost," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20037, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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