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The Triumph of Monetarism?

  • J. Bradford De Long

The story of 20th century macroeconomics begins with Irving Fisher. In his books Appreciation and Interest (1896), The Rate of Interest (1907), and The Purchasing Power of Money (1911), Fisher fueled the intellectual fire that became known as monetarism. But what has happened to monetarism at the end of the 20th century? The short answer is that much of this current of thought is still there, but its insights pass under another name. We may not all be Keynesians now, but the influence of monetarism on how we all think about macroeconomics today has been deep, pervasive, and subtle. Why then do we today talk much more about the "New Keynesian" economists than about the "New Monetarist" economists? I believe that to answer this question we need to look at the history of monetarism over the 20th century. One fruitful way to look at the history of monetarism is to distinguish between four different variants or subspecies of monetarism that emerged and for a time flourished in the century just past: First Monetarism, Old Chicago Monetarism, High Monetarism, and Political Monetarism.

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

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 83-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:1:p:83-94
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.1.83
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  1. Johnson, Harry G, 1971. "The Keynesian Revolution and the Monetarist Counter-Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 1-14, May.
  2. John Y. Campbell, 1992. "Inspecting the Mechanism: An Analytical Approach to the Stochastic Growth Model," NBER Working Papers 4188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bennett T. McCallum, 1988. "Real Business Cycle Models," NBER Working Papers 2480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Patinkin, Don, 1969. "The Chicago Tradition, the Quantity Theory, and Friedman," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 46-70, February.
  5. Milton Friedman, 1971. "A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie71-1, 07.
  6. Brunner, Karl & Meltzer, Allan H, 1972. "Friedman's Monetary Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(5), pages 837-51, Sept.-Oct.
  7. George S. Tavlas, 1998. "Was the Monetarist Tradition Invented?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 211-222, Fall.
  8. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, 07.
  9. Friedman, Milton, 1971. "A Monetary Theory of Nominal Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(2), pages 323-37, March-Apr.
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