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Majority Rule, Consensus Building, and the Power of the Chairman: Arthur Burns and the FOMC

  • Chappell, Henry W, Jr
  • McGregor, Rob Roy
  • Vermilyea, Todd

This paper investigates decision making within the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve, focusing on the competing pressures of majority rule, consensus building, and the power of the Chairman. To undertake this analysis, we have constructed an original data set recording desired federal funds rates for each member of the Committee over the 1970-78 period. Our results confirm a disproportionate influence of the Chairman in the policy process; they also confirm that other voting members of the Committee have an impact on policy choices. Estimates indicate that the Chairman exercises 40% to 50% of the voting weight in Committee decisions.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 36 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 407-22

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:36:y:2004:i:3:p:407-22
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