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The U.K.’s rocky road to stability

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  • Edward Nelson

Abstract

This paper provides an overview, using extensive documentary material, of developments in U.K. macroeconomic policy in the last half-century. Rather than focusing on well-known recent changes in policy arrangements (such as the introduction of inflation targeting in 1992 or central bank independence in 1997), we instead take a longer perspective, which characterizes the favorable economic performance in the 1990s and 2000s as the culmination of an overhaul of macroeconomic policy since the late 1970s. We stress that policymaking in recent decades has discarded various misconceptions about the macroeconomy and the monetary transmission mechanism that officials held in earlier periods. The misconceptions included: an underestimation of the importance of monetary policy in demand management until 1970; a failure to distinguish real and nominal interest rates until the late 1960s; the deployment until the mid-1980s of ineffective monetary control devices that did not alter the monetary base; and the adherence by policymakers in the 1960s and 1970s to nonmonetary views of the inflation process. We also consider developments in fiscal policy in light of changes in the doctrines underlying U.K. macroeconomic decisions.
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Suggested Citation

  • Edward Nelson, 2004. "The U.K.’s rocky road to stability," Monetary Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Oct.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlmt:y:2004:i:oct
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    Cited by:

    1. David Aikman & Oliver Bush & Alan M. Taylor, 2016. "Monetary Versus Macroprudential Policies: Causal Impacts of Interest Rates and Credit Controls in the Era of the UK Radcliffe Report," NBER Working Papers 22380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Xiaoshan Chen & Ronald Macdonald, 2012. "Realized and Optimal Monetary Policy Rules in an Estimated Markov‐Switching DSGE Model of the United Kingdom," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(6), pages 1091-1116, September.
    3. Benati, Luca, 2011. "Would the Bundesbank have prevented the Great Inflation in the United States?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1106-1125, July.
    4. Garratt, Anthony & Koop, Gary & Mise, Emi & Vahey, Shaun P., 2009. "Real-Time Prediction With U.K. Monetary Aggregates in the Presence of Model Uncertainty," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 480-491.
    5. Benati, Luca & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2007. "U.S. evolving macroeconomic dynamics: a structural investigation," Working Paper Series 746, European Central Bank.
    6. Assenmacher-Wesche, Katrin, 2006. "Estimating Central Banks' preferences from a time-varying empirical reaction function," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1951-1974, November.
    7. Ram Sharan Kharel & Christopher Martin & Costas Milas, 2010. "The Complex Response Of Monetary Policy To The Exchange Rate," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(1), pages 103-117, February.
    8. Fischer, Stanley, 2017. "The Independent Bank of England--20 Years On : a speech at "20 Years On," a conference sponsored by the Bank of England, London, England, September 28, 2017," Speech 973, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Davide Furceri & Prakash Loungani & John Simon & Susan M. Wachter, 2016. "Global food prices and domestic inflation: some cross-country evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 665-687.
    10. Charlotta Groth & Jarkko Jääskelä & Paolo Surico, 2006. "Fundamental inflation uncertainty," Bank of England working papers 309, Bank of England.
    11. Ajay Shah, 2008. "New issues in Indian macro policy," Working Papers id:1478, eSocialSciences.
    12. Atanas Christev & Yue Kang, 2015. "Money and Inflation: Is Monetary Policy Useful?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83, pages 30-50, September.
    13. Kishor, N. Kundan, 2012. "A Note On Time Variation In A Forward-Looking Monetary Policy Rule: Evidence From European Countries," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(S3), pages 422-437, November.
    14. Benati, Luca, 2007. "The "Great Moderation" in the United Kingdom," Working Paper Series 769, European Central Bank.

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    Keywords

    Economic conditions - Great Britain;

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