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When did the FOMC begin targeting the federal funds rate? what the verbatim transcripts tell us

  • Daniel L. Thornton

In October 1982 the FOMC deemphasized M1 and moved to what is commonly referred to as a borrowed reserves operating procedure. Sometime thereafter the FOMC switched to a funds rate targeting procedure but never formally announced the change. Given the close correspondence between a borrowed reserves operating procedure and a funds rate targeting procedure, Thornton (1988) suggested that the FOMC went immediately to a funds rate targeting procedure. Others date the switch to the funds rate procedure later. Meulendyke (1998) suggests the switch came in late 1987, while others suggest the change occurred later. This paper reviews the verbatim transcripts of the FOMC meetings to establish the timing of the switch. The verbatim transcripts suggest that the FOMC effectively switched to a funds rate targeting procedure in 1982. The documentary evidence is supported by an analysis of the spread between the funds rate and the funds rate target, which suggests that the differences in the behavior of the spread before October 1979 and after October 1982 are relatively small and economically unimportant.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2004-015.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2004-015
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  1. Kalyvitis, Sarantis & Michaelides, Alexander, 2001. "New evidence on the effects of US monetary policy on exchange rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 255-263, May.
  2. Friedman, Milton, 1982. "Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(1), pages 98-118, February.
  3. Daniel L. Thornton, 1988. "The borrowed-reserves operating procedures: theory and evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 30-54.
  4. Levin, Fred J & Meulendyke, Ann-Marie, 1982. "Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice: A Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(3), pages 399-403, August.
  5. James A. Clouse, 1994. "Recent developments in discount window policy," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Nov, pages 965-977.
  6. Oscar Jorda & James D. Hamilton, 2003. "A model for the federal funds rate target," Working Papers 997, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  7. Thornton, Daniel L., 2004. "The Fed and short-term rates: Is it open market operations, open mouth operations or interest rate smoothing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 475-498, March.
  8. Thornton, Daniel L., 2001. "The Federal Reserve's operating procedure, nonborrowed reserves, borrowed reserves and the liquidity effect," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1717-1739, September.
  9. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  10. Daniel Thornton & David C. Wheelock, 2000. "A history of the asymmetric policy directive," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 1-16.
  11. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  12. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  13. John B. Taylor, 2001. "Expectations, open market operations, and changes in the federal funds rate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 33-58.
  14. Feinman, Joshua N, 1993. "Estimating the Open Market Desk's Daily Reaction Function," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 231-47, May.
  15. Friedman, Milton, 1982. "Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice: A Reply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(3), pages 404-06, August.
  16. Henry C. Wallich, 1984. "Recent techniques of monetary policy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 21-30.
  17. R. Alton Gilbert, 1985. "Operating procedures for conducting monetary policy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Feb.
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