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Friedman's Presidential Address in the Evolution of Macroeconomic Thought

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Ricardo Reis

Abstract

Milton Friedman's presidential address, "The Role of Monetary Policy," which was delivered 50 years ago in December 1967 and published in the March 1968 issue of the American Economic Review, is unusual in the outsized role it has played. What explains the huge influence of this work, merely 17 pages in length? One factor is that Friedman addresses an important topic. Another is that it is written in simple, clear prose, making it an ideal addition to the reading lists of many courses. But what distinguishes Friedman's address is that it invites readers to reorient their thinking in a fundamental way. It was an invitation that, after hearing the arguments, many readers chose to accept. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to view Friedman's 1967 AEA presidential address as marking a turning point in the history of macroeconomic research. Our goal here is to assess this contribution, with the benefit of a half-century of hindsight. We discuss where macroeconomics was before the address, what insights Friedman offered, where researchers and central bankers stand today on these issues, and (most speculatively) where we may be heading in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2018. "Friedman's Presidential Address in the Evolution of Macroeconomic Thought," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 81-96, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:32:y:2018:i:1:p:81-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.32.1.81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Manuel M. F. Martins & Maria Joana Soares, 2019. "The Phillips Curve at 60: time for time and frequency," CEF.UP Working Papers 1902, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, 2019. "Fads and Trends in OECD Economic Thinking on Denmark: A Word-Frequency Approach," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 16(2), pages 218–238-2, September.
    3. Jongrim Ha & M. Ayhan Kose & Franziska L. Ohnsorge, 2019. "Understanding inflation in emerging and developing economies," CAMA Working Papers 2019-22, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    4. Dennis Bonam & Gabriele Galati & Irma Hindrayanto & Marco Hoeberichts & Anna Samarina & Irina Stanga, 2019. "Inflation in the euro area since the Global Financial Crisis," DNB Occasional Studies 1703, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Aurélien Goutsmedt & Goulven Rubin, 2018. "Robert J. Gordon and the introduction of the natural rate hypothesis in the Keynesian framework," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 18013, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    6. Aurélien Goutsmedt & Goulven Rubin, 2018. "Robert J. Gordon and the introduction of the natural rate hypothesis in the Keynesian framework," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01821825, HAL.
    7. Thomas Palley, 2018. "Recovering Keynesian Phillips curve theory," FMM Working Paper 26-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    8. Ernest Gnan & Claudia Kwapil & Maria Teresa Valderrama, 2018. "Monetary policy after the crisis: mandates, targets, and international linkages," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q2/18, pages 8-33.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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