IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedlwp/2008-011.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Monetary policy: why money matters and interest rates don't

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

Monetary policy is now conducted by targeting a very short-term interest rate. The Fed and other central banks attempt to control the price level by manipulating aggregate demand by adjusting their interest rate target. At best, money's role is tertiary. Indeed, a few prominent and influential macroeconomists have suggested that money is not essential, or perhaps is irrelevant, for the determination of the price level. Against this backdrop, this paper argues that the essential feature of money is that it guarantees "final payment" and is essential for price determination. It also suggests that the ability of the central banks to control interest rates may be greatly exaggerated.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel L. Thornton, 2008. "Monetary policy: why money matters and interest rates don't," Working Papers 2008-011, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2008/2008-011.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Reynard, Samuel, 2007. "Maintaining low inflation: Money, interest rates, and policy stance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1441-1471, July.
    2. Della Corte, Pasquale & Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L., 2008. "The expectation hypothesis of the term structure of very short-term rates: Statistical tests and economic value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 158-174, July.
    3. Freedman, Charles, 2000. "Monetary Policy Implementation: Past, Present and Future--Will Electronic Money Lead to the Eventual Demise of Central Banking?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 211-227, July.
    4. Daniel L. Thornton, 2000. "Money in a theory of exchange," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 35-60.
    5. Nelson, Edward, 2007. "Comment on: Samuel Reynard, "Maintaining low inflation: Money, interest rates, and policy stance"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1472-1479, July.
    6. Eric T. Swanson & John C. Williams, 2014. "Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3154-3185, October.
    7. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J. & Marshall, David A., 1997. "On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 309-348, June.
    8. Daniel L. Thornton, 2005. "When did the FOMC begin targeting the federal funds rate? what the verbatim transcripts tell us," Working Papers 2004-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Woodford, Michael, 2005. "Comment on: "Using a long-term interest rate as the monetary policy instrument"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 881-887, July.
    10. Daniel L. Thornton, 2013. "A perspective on possible Fed exit strategies," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    11. Hamilton, James D, 1997. "Measuring the Liquidity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 80-97, March.
    12. Thornton, Daniel L., 2005. "Tests of the expectations hypothesis: Resolving the anomalies when the short-term rate is the federal funds rate," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 2541-2556, October.
    13. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Monetary policy in the information economy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 297-370.
    14. Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L. & Valente, Giorgio, 2007. "The Empirical Failure of the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Bond Yields," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 81-100, March.
    15. Jeremy M. Piger & Robert H. Rasche, 2008. "Inflation: Do Expectations Trump the Gap?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(4), pages 85-116, December.
    16. 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.
    17. Mervyn A. King, 1999. "Challenges for monetary policy : new and old," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-57.
    18. Michael Woodford, 2008. "How Important Is Money in the Conduct of Monetary Policy?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1561-1598, December.
    19. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514.
    20. Daniel L. Thornton, 2001. "Identifying the liquidity effect at the daily frequency," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 59-82.
    21. Forni, Mario & Lippi, Marco, 1997. "Aggregation and the Microfoundations of Dynamic Macroeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288008.
    22. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Stephen D. Williamson & Randall Wright, 2010. "New monetarist economics: methods," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 265-302.
    24. Charles Goodhart, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," FMG Special Papers sp125, Financial Markets Group.
    25. Goodhart, Charles & Bin Lim, Wen, 2008. "Interest rate forecasts: a pathology," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24431, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    26. Nelson Edward, 2005. "The Great Inflation of the Seventies: What Really Happened?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-50, July.
    27. McCallum, Bennett T., 1981. "Price level determinacy with an interest rate policy rule and rational expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 319-329.
    28. 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.
    29. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2000. "Decoupling at the Margin: The Threat to Monetary Policy from the Electronic Revolution in Banking," NBER Working Papers 7955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Benati, Luca, 2009. "Long run evidence on money growth and inflation," Working Paper Series 1027, European Central Bank.
    31. Daniel L. Thornton, 2005. "A new federal funds rate target series: September 27, 1982, - December 31, 1993," Working Papers 2005-032, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    32. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
    33. Richard G. Anderson & Robert H. Rasche, 2001. "Retail sweep programs and bank reserves, 1994-1999," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 51-72.
    34. Daniel L. Thornton, 2008. "The unusual behavior of the federal funds and 10-year Treasury rates: a conundrum or Goodhart’s Law?," Working Papers 2007-039, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    35. Fama, Eugene F., 1980. "Banking in the theory of finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 39-57, January.
    36. 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.
    37. Ellen E. Meade & Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "The Phillips curve and US monetary policy: what the FOMC transcripts tell us," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 197-216, April.
    38. Woodford, Michael, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy Inertia," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(0), pages 1-35, Supplemen.
    39. BENNETT T. McCALLUM, 2008. "How Important Is Money in the Conduct of Monetary Policy? A Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1783-1790, December.
    40. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary policy analysis in models without money," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 145-164.
    41. Carpenter, Seth & Demiralp, Selva, 2006. "The Liquidity Effect in the Federal Funds Market: Evidence from Daily Open Market Operations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 901-920, June.
    42. Daniel L. Thornton, 2007. "Open market operations and the federal funds rate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 549-570.
    43. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
    44. Hamilton, James D, 1996. "The Daily Market for Federal Funds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 26-56, February.
    45. Adrian R. Pagan & John C. Robertson, 1995. "Resolving the liquidity effect," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 33-54.
    46. Bernanke, Ben S., 2012. "Five Questions about the Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy : a speech at the Economic Club of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, October 1, 2012," Speech 646, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    47. Friedman, Benjamin M, 2000. "Decoupling at the Margin: The Threat to Monetary Policy from the Electronic Revolution in Banking," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 261-272, July.
    48. 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.
    49. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
    50. Daniel L. Thornton, 2007. "The daily and policy-relevant liquidity effects," Working Papers 2007-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    51. Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Monetary Policy in a World without Money," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 229-260, July.
    52. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army With Only a Signal Corps," NBER Working Papers 7420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    53. Bennett T. McCallum & Marvin S. Goodfriend, 1987. "Money: Theoretical Analysis of the Demand for Money," NBER Working Papers 2157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    54. Michael D. Bauer & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2014. "The Signaling Channel for Federal Reserve Bond Purchases," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(3), pages 233-289, September.
    55. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1989. "The effect of changes in the federal funds rate target on market interest rates in the 1970s," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, November.
    56. David Laidler, 2003. "Monetary Policy without Money: Hamlet without the Ghost," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20037, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    57. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army with Only a Signal Corps?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 321-338, November.
    58. 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.
    59. Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "How did we get to inflation targeting and where do we need to go to now? a perspective from the U.S. experience," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 65-81.
    60. 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.
    61. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
    62. Gerald P. Dwyer & R. W. Hafer, 1999. "Are money growth and inflation still related?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q2, pages 32-43.
    63. Wen Bin Lim & Charles Goodhart, 2008. "Interest Rate Forecasts: A Pathology," FMG Discussion Papers dp612, Financial Markets Group.
    64. Roy Cromb & Emilio Fernandez-Corugedo, 2004. "Long-term interest rates, wealth and consumption," Bank of England working papers 243, Bank of England.
    65. Ian J. Macfarlane & Chairman, 1999. "General discussion : challenges for monetary policy: new and old," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 69-75.
    66. Rolnick, Arthur J & Weber, Warren E, 1983. "New Evidence on the Free Banking Era," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1080-1091, December.
    67. Massimo Guidolin & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis," Working Papers 2010-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ratti, Ronald A. & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2015. "What drives the global interest rate," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 241, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Ratti, Ronald A. & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2015. "Commodity prices and BRIC and G3 liquidity: A SFAVEC approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 18-33.
    3. Claudiu Tiberiu Albulescu & Daniel Goyeau & Cornel Oros, 2015. "On the Long Run Money-Prices Relationship in CEE Countries," Economic Research Guardian, Weissberg Publishing, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, June.
    4. Ratti, Ronald A. & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2016. "Oil prices and global factor macroeconomic variables," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 198-212.
    5. Franz Seitz & Markus A. Schmidt, 2014. "Money In Modern Macro Models: A Review of the Arguments," Journal of Reviews on Global Economics, Lifescience Global, vol. 3, pages 156-174.
    6. Holmes, Mark J. & Otero, Jesús & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2015. "The expectations hypothesis and decoupling of short- and long-term US interest rates: A pairwise approach," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 301-313.
    7. Lahura, Erick, 2017. "Monetary Aggregates and Monetary Policy in Peru," Working Papers 2017-003, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
    8. repec:spr:jqecon:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40953-017-0079-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Max Gillman & Michal Kejak & Giulia Ghiani, 2014. "Money, Banking and Interest Rates: Monetary Policy Regimes with Markov-Switching VECM Evidence," CEU Working Papers 2014_3, Department of Economics, Central European University.
    10. repec:eee:jmacro:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:64-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ronald A. Ratti & Joaquin L. Vespignani, 2015. "What drives the global official/policy interest rate?," CAMA Working Papers 2015-27, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    12. Giulia Ghiani & Max Gillman & Michal Kejak, 2014. "Money, Banking and Interest Rates: Monetary Policy Regimes with Markov-Switching VECM Evidence," Working Papers 1003, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-011. 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: (Anna Oates). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.