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Political Pressures on Monetary Policy during the US Great Inflation

Author

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  • Charles L. Weise

Abstract

Drawing on an analysis of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) documents, this paper argues that political pressures on the Federal Reserve were an important contributor to the rise in inflation in the United States in the 1970s. Members of the FOMC understood that a serious attempt to tackle inflation would generate opposition from Congress and the executive branch. Political considerations contributed to delays in monetary tightening, insufficiently aggressive anti-inflation policies, and the premature abandonment of attempts at disinflation. Empirical analysis verifies that references to the political environment at FOMC meetings are correlated with the stance of monetary policy during this period. (JEL D72, E32, E52, E58, N12)

Suggested Citation

  • Charles L. Weise, 2012. "Political Pressures on Monetary Policy during the US Great Inflation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 33-64, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:33-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.2.33
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    2. Edward Nelson, 2007. "The Great Inflation and Early Disinflation in Japan and Germany," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(4), pages 23-76, December.
    3. Riccardo DiCecio & Edward Nelson, 2009. "The Great Inflation in the United States and the United Kingdom: Reconciling Policy Decisions and Data Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 14895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hetzel,Robert L., 2008. "The Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521881326.
    5. 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.
    6. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-175, April.
    7. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 983-1022, July.
    8. Charles L. Weise, 2008. "Private Sector Influences on Monetary Policy in the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 449-462, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Bianchi & Cosmin Ilut, 2017. "Monetary/Fiscal Policy Mix and Agent's Beliefs," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 113-139, October.
    2. Joshua C. C. Chan & Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2016. "A Bounded Model of Time Variation in Trend Inflation, Nairu and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 551-565, April.
    3. Demiralp, Selva & King, Sharmila & Scotti, Chiara, 2016. "Does Anyone Listen when Politicians Talk? The Effect of Political Commentaries on Policy Rate Decisions and Expectations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-058, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2013. "Shifts in US Federal Reserve Goals and Tactics for Monetary Policy: A Role for Penitence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 65-86, Fall.
    5. Smales, Lee A. & Apergis, Nick, 2016. "The influence of FOMC member characteristics on the monetary policy decision-making process," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 216-231.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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-

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