IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

What have central bankers learned from modern macroeconomic theory?

  • Howitt, Peter

In this essay I argue that modern macroeconomic theory has fallen behind the practice of central banking. After briefly summarizing the current state of macro theory, I focus on what strikes me as the two most important developments in monetary policy in the last two decades – inflation targeting and dealing with financial crises. My analysis rejects the claims made by several authors to the effect that the proliferation of inflation-targeting regimes around the globe represents an application of well-established principles of macroeconomic theory. As for how monetary policy can promote financial stability, a subject on which most economists agree modern theory has been of little help, I argue that macroeconomics has lost touch with the fundamental raison d’être of central banking. My diagnosis is that macroeconomic theory has become distracted by its preoccupation with states of equilibrium, a preoccupation that inhibits analysis of a market economy’s coordination mechanisms. I conclude with a plea for a more diverse ecology of approaches to macroeconomic theory, one that finds room for agent-based computational economics as well as for more conventional equilibrium theories.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164070411000619
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 11-22

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:34:y:2012:i:1:p:11-22
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2011.08.005
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2006. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," NBER Working Papers 12349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Olivier J. Blanchard, 2008. "The State of Macro," NBER Working Papers 14259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  4. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & John Moore, 1995. "Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Howitt, Peter, 1992. "Interest Rate Control and Nonconvergence to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 776-800, August.
  6. Hicks, John R, 1969. "Automatists, Hawtreyans, and Keynesians," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(3), pages 307-17, August.
  7. M. Woodford., 2010. "Convergence in Macroeconomics: Elements of the New Synthesis," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10, pages -.
  8. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2005. "Euler Equation Errors," CEPR Discussion Papers 5245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Marvin Goodfriend, 2007. "How the World Achieved Consensus on Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 13580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2005. "Real wage rigidities and the New Keynesian model," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages -.
  11. David Laidler, 2010. "The Monetary Economy and the Economic Crisis," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  12. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
  14. Warren L. Smith, 1958. "The Discount Rate as a Credit-Control Weapon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 171-171.
  15. David Laidler, 2009. "Financial Stability, Monetarism and the Wicksell Connection," Review of Economic Analysis, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, September.
  16. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2010. "Modern macroeconomic models as tools for economic policy," The Region, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue May, pages 5-21.
  17. Cincotti, Silvano & Raberto, Marco & Teglio, Andrea, 2010. "Credit money and macroeconomic instability in the agent-based model and simulator Eurace," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-32.
  18. Basu, N & Pryor, R & Quint, T, 1998. "ASPEN: A Microsimulation Model of the Economy," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 223-241, December.
  19. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2006. "Modern Macroeconomics in Practice: How Theory Is Shaping Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 3-28, Fall.
  20. Howitt, Peter & Clower, Robert, 2000. "The emergence of economic organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 55-84, January.
  21. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 2006. "Agent-Based Computational Economics: A Constructive Approach to Economic Theory," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 831-880 Elsevier.
  22. Peter Howitt, 2006. "The Microfoundations of the Keynesian Multiplier Process," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 1(1), pages 33-44, May.
  23. Quamrul Ashraf & Boris Gershman & Peter Howitt, 2011. "Banks, Market Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-03, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2016.
  24. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  25. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
  26. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  27. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216.
  28. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal choice of monetary policy instruments in a simple stochastic macro model," Staff Studies 57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  29. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Optimal Inflation for the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-52, July.
  30. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2008. "New Keynesian Models: Not Yet Useful for Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 14313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. 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, Enero.
  32. Christophe Deissenberg & Sander Van Der Hoog & Herbert Dawid, 2008. "EURACE: A Massively Parallel Agent-Based Model of the European Economy," Working Papers halshs-00339756, HAL.
  33. David K. Levine, 1991. "Asset Trading Mechanisms and Expansionary Policy," Levine's Working Paper Archive 43, David K. Levine.
  34. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 35-54, November.
  35. Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2006. "An Evolutionary Model of Endogenous Business Cycles," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 3-34, February.
  36. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
  37. Gertler, Mark & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 2010. "Financial Intermediation and Credit Policy in Business Cycle Analysis," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 11, pages 547-599 Elsevier.
  38. Tack Yun, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Relative Price Distortions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 89-109, March.
  39. Peter Howitt & Robert Clower, 1998. "Keynes and the Classics: An End of Century View," Working Papers 98-13, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  40. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2011. "Monetary Policy Strategy: Lessons from the Crisis," NBER Working Papers 16755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:34:y:2012:i:1:p:11-22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.