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Ben Bernanke and the Zero Bound

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  • Laurence Ball

Abstract

From 2000 to 2003, when Ben Bernanke was a professor and then a Fed Governor, he wrote extensively about monetary policy at the zero bound on interest rates. He advocated aggressive stimulus policies, such as a money-financed tax cut and an inflation target of 3-4%. Yet, since U.S. interest rates hit zero in 2008, the Fed under Chairman Bernanke has taken more cautious actions. This paper asks when and why Bernanke changed his mind about zero-bound policy. The answer, at one level, is that he was influenced by analysis from the Fed staff that was presented at the FOMC meeting of June 2003. This answer raises another question: why did the staff’s views influence Bernanke so strongly? I seek answers to this question in the social psychology literature on group decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence Ball, 2012. "Ben Bernanke and the Zero Bound," Economics Working Paper Archive 589, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:589
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David C. Wyld, 2010. "ASecond Life for organizations?: managing in the new, virtual world," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(6), pages 529-562, May.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Bank of Japan at the Policy Frontier
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2016-10-31 17:38:58

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    Cited by:

    1. El-Shagi, Makram & Jung, Alexander, 2015. "Does the Greenspan era provide evidence on leadership in the FOMC?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 173-190.
    2. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2015. "Monetary Policy Committees: Comparing Theory and "Inside" Information from MPC Members," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 47-89, December.
    3. Sylvester Eijffinger & Ronald Mahieu & Louis Raes, 2016. "Monetary Policy Committees, Voting Behavior and Ideal Points," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1628, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. Yasushi Asako & Kozo Ueda, 2014. "The Boy Who Cried Bubble: Public Warnings Against Riding Bubbles," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1137-1152, July.
    5. Kazuo Ueda, 2012. "Deleveraging and Monetary Policy: Japan since the 1990s and the United States since 2007," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 177-202, Summer.
    6. N. Cordemans & S. Ide, 2012. "Monetary policy in the United States and the euro area during the crisis," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue i, pages 39-63, June.
    7. Carlos Madeira & Joao Madeira, 2015. "Dissent in FOMC Meeting and the Announcement Drift," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 749, Central Bank of Chile.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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