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The Most Dangerous Idea in Federal Reserve History: Monetary Policy Doesn't Matter

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

Abstract

Monetary policy-makers' beliefs about how the economy functions are a key determinant of the conduct of policy. That monetary policy has little impact under the prevailing circumstances is a belief which has resurfaced periodically over the Federal Reserve's 100-year history. In both the 1930s and the 1970s a belief in the ineffectiveness of monetary policy led to policy inaction and poor economic outcomes. For some of the recent period, the same view appears to have limited the policy response to prolonged high unemployment in the presence of low inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2013. "The Most Dangerous Idea in Federal Reserve History: Monetary Policy Doesn't Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 55-60, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:55-60
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519999 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policy-Makers' Beliefs and U. S. Postwar Stabilization Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 867-901.
    3. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2009. "The World Needs Further Monetary Ease, Not an Early Exit," Policy Briefs PB09-22, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    4. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Romer, Christina D., 2006. "Was the Federal Reserve Constrained by the Gold Standard During the Great Depression? Evidence from the 1932 Open Market Purchase Program," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 140-176, March.
    5. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
    6. Nelson Edward, 2005. "The Great Inflation of the Seventies: What Really Happened?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-50, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. 'A Century of U.S. Central Banking: Goals, Frameworks, Accountability'
      by Mark Thoma in Economist's View on 2013-07-10 18:48:26

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alfons J. Weichenrieder & Adalbert Winkler & Anja Rossen & Olaf Schlotmann, 2014. "Deflation in Südeuropa: Fluch oder Segen? Wie sollte die EZB reagieren?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 67(10), pages 03-15, May.
    2. David Aikman & Oliver Bush & Alan M. Taylor, 2016. "Monetary Versus Macroprudential Policies: Causal Impacts of Interest Rates and Credit Controls in the Era of the UK Radcliffe Report," NBER Working Papers 22380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Eva Arnold & Lena Dräger & Ulrich Fritsche, 2014. "Evaluating the Link between Consumers' Savings Portfolio Decisions, their Inflation Expectations and Economic News," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201402, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.
    4. Goodman, Joshua Samuel & Goodman, Lucas & Goodman, Sarena & Goodman, Allen C., 2014. "A Few Goodmen: Surname-Sharing Co-Authors in Economics," Scholarly Articles 22805379, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Signaling Effects of Monteray Policy," 2014 Meeting Papers 830, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Christina D. Romer, 2013. "It Takes a Regime Shift: Recent Developments in Japanese Monetary Policy through the Lens of the Great Depression," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2013, Volume 28, pages 383-400 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Don Bredin & Stilianos Fountas, 2018. "US Inflation and Inflation Uncertainty Over 200 Years," Discussion Paper Series 2018_04, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised Apr 2018.
    8. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. repec:erc:cypepr:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:19-62 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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