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A Natural Experiment in Monetary Policy Covering Three Episodes of Growth and Decline in the Economy and the Stock Market

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  • Milton Friedman

Abstract

The third of three episodes in a major natural experiment in monetary policy that started more than 80 years ago is just now coming to an end. The experiment consists in observing the effect on the economy and the stock market of the monetary policies followed during and after three very similar periods of rapid economic growth in response to rapid technological change: the booms of the 1920s in the United States, the 1980s in Japan and the 1990s in the United States. In this experiment, the quantity of money is the counterpart of the experimenter's input. The performance of the economy and the level of the stock market are the counterpart of the experimenter's output. The results of this natural experiment are clear, at least for major ups and downs: what happens to the quantity of money has a determinative effect on what happens to national income and to stock prices. The results strongly support Anna Schwartz's and my 1963 conjecture about the role of monetary policy in the Great Contraction. They also support the view that monetary policy deserves much credit for the mildness of the recession that followed the collapse of the U.S. boom in late 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • Milton Friedman, 2005. "A Natural Experiment in Monetary Policy Covering Three Episodes of Growth and Decline in the Economy and the Stock Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 145-150, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:19:y:2005:i:4:p:145-150
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533005775196787
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    Cited by:

    1. Devereux, John & Dwyer, Gerald P., 2016. "What determines output losses after banking crises?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 69-94.
    2. Meixing DAI, 2007. "A two-pillar strategy to keep inflation expectations at bay: A basic theoretical framework," Working Papers of BETA 2007-20, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Meixing DAI, 2009. "On the role of money growth targeting under inflation targeting regime," Working Papers of BETA 2009-11, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Keshab Bhattarai, 2015. "Financial Deepening and Economic Growth in Advanced and Emerging Economies," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 178-195, February.
    5. Dwyer, Gerald P. & Lothian, James R., 2012. "International and historical dimensions of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-9.
    6. Lothian, James R. & McCarthy, Cornelia H., 2009. "The behavior of money and other economic variables: Two natural experiments," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1204-1220, November.
    7. Dai, Meixing, 2007. "The design of a ‘two-pillar’ monetary policy strategy," MPRA Paper 14403, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.
    8. Sylvie Rivot, 2015. "Rule-based frameworks in historical perspective: Keynes' and Friedman's monetary policies versus contemporary policy-rules," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 601-633, August.
    9. Francisco Rosende, 2009. "La Macroeconomía y la Crisis: ¿La Crisis de la Macroeconomía?," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 46(134), pages 161-182.
    10. Charles G. Leathers & J. Patrick Raines, 2012. "Intuitive psychology, natural experiments, and the Greenspan-Bernanke conceptual framework for responding to financial crises," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 281-295, March.
    11. José Luis Cendejas Bueno & Félix-Fernando Muñoz & Juan Castañeda, 2014. "When Money Matters," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 15(2), pages 77-110, April.

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