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Could the United States have had a better central bank? An historical counterfactual speculation

  • Bordo, Michael D.

This article argues that two alternative hypothetical central bank scenarios could have improved upon the Federal Reserve’s track record with respect to financial stability and possibly overall macroeconomic performance in its first century. The first scenario is to assume that the charter of the Second Bank of the United States had not been revoked by Andrew Jackson in 1836 and the Second Bank survived. The second scenario takes as given that the Second bank did not survive and history evolved as it did , but considers the situation in which the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was closer to the original plan for a central bank proposed by Paul Warburg in 1910.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 597-607

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:597-607
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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  1. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2011. "The promise and performance of the Federal Reserve as Lender of Last Resort 1914-1933," Working Paper 2011/01, Norges Bank.
  2. Douglas A. Irwin, 2010. "Did France Cause the Great Depression?," NBER Working Papers 16350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Joseph G. Haubrich, 2012. "Deep Recessions, Fast Recoveries, and Financial Crises: Evidence from the American Record," NBER Working Papers 18194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bordo, Michael D. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1999. "Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: The historical record," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 149-234 Elsevier.
  5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  6. Michael D. Bordo & Owen Humpage & Anna J. Schwartz, 2006. "The Historical Origins of U.S. Exchange Market Intervention Policy," NBER Working Papers 12662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael D. Bordo & Robert D. Dittmar & William T. Gavin, 2003. "Gold, Fiat Money, and Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 10171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Knodell, Jane, 2003. "Profit and duty in the Second Bank of the United States' exchange operations," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 5-30, April.
  9. Marvin Goodfriend, 1988. "Central banking under the gold standard," Working Paper 88-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  10. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1, June.
  11. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1997. "Implications of the Great Depression for the Development of the International Monetary System," NBER Working Papers 5883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2001. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0119, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  14. Peter L. Rousseau, 2000. "Jacksonian Monetary Policy, Specie Flows, and the Panic of 1837," NBER Working Papers 7528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bordo, Michael D. & Vegh, Carlos A., 2002. "What if Alexander Hamilton had been Argentinean? A comparison of the early monetary experiences of Argentina and the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 459-494, April.
  16. Michael D. Bordo, 1981. "The classical gold standard: some lessons for today," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 2-17.
  17. Andreas Beyer & Vitor Gaspar & Christina Gerberding & Otmar Issing, 2008. "Opting Out of the Great Inflation: German Monetary Policy After the Break Down of Bretton Woods," NBER Working Papers 14596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and theFounding of the Fed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 125-40, March.
  19. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2009. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics during the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Federal Reserve District Border, 1929-1933," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1031-1073, December.
  20. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
  21. 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, June.
  22. John B. Taylor, 2009. "Getting Off Track - How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis," Books, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, number 3.
  23. Eugene N. White, 2011. ""To Establish a More Effective Supervision of Banking": How the Birth of the Fed Altered Bank Supervision," NBER Working Papers 16825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Bordo, Michael D. & White, Eugene N., 1991. "A Tale of Two Currencies: British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 303-316, June.
  25. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
  26. Michael D. Bordo & Athanasios Orphanides, 2012. "Introduction to "The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking"," NBER Chapters, in: The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521391559 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2011. "Central banking in the credit turmoil: An assessment of Federal Reserve practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, January.
  29. Beyer, Andreas & Gaspar, Vítor & Gerberding, Christina & Issing, Otmar, 2008. "Opting out of the great inflation: German monetary policy after the break down of Bretton Woods," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/01, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  30. Barry Eichengreen & Marc Flandreau, 2008. "The Rise and Fall of the Dollar, or When Did the Dollar Replace Sterling as the Leading International Currency?," NBER Working Papers 14154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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