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Control of Finance as a Prerequisite for Successful Monetary Policy: A Reinterpretation of Henry Simons's Rules versus Authorities in Monetary Policy

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  • Thorvald Grung Moe

Abstract

Henry Simons's 1936 article "Rules versus Authorities in Monetary Policy" is a classical reference in the literature on central bank independence and rule-based policy. A closer reading of the article reveals a more nuanced policy prescription, with significant emphasis on the need to control short-term borrowing; bank credit is seen as highly unstable, and price level controls, in Simons's view, are not be possible without limiting banks' ability to create money by extending loans. These elements of Simons's theory of money form the basis for Hyman P. Minsky's financial instability hypothesis. This should not come as a surprise, as Simons was Minsky's teacher at the University of Chicago in the late 1930s. I review the similarities between their theories of financial instability and the relevance of their work for the current discussion of macroprudential tools and the conduct of monetary policy. According to Minsky and Simons, control of finance is a prerequisite for successful monetary policy and economic stabilization.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorvald Grung Moe, 2012. "Control of Finance as a Prerequisite for Successful Monetary Policy: A Reinterpretation of Henry Simons's Rules versus Authorities in Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_713, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_713
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tavlas, George S, 1997. "Chicago, Harvard, and the Doctrinal Foundations of Monetary Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 153-177, February.
    2. Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig, 2013. "The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9929, June.
    3. Hyman P. Minsky & Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Ronnie J. Phillips & L. Randall Wray, "undated". "Community Development Banking, A Proposal to Establish a Nationwide System of Community Development Banks," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive 3, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. J. Ronnie Davis, 1969. "Henry Simons, the Radical: Some Documentary Evidence," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 388-394, Fall.
    5. repec:mes:jeciss:v:23:y:1989:i:3:p:889-891 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. J. Bradford De Long, 1990. "In Defense of Henry Simon's Standing as a Classical Liberal," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, pages 601-618.
    7. Henry C. Simons, 1936. "Rules versus Authorities in Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44, pages 1-1.
    8. repec:fth:harver:1498 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Patinkin, Don, 1969. "The Chicago Tradition, the Quantity Theory, and Friedman," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 46-70, February.
    10. Laidler, David, 1993. "Hawtrey, Harvard, and the Origins of the Chicago Tradition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1068-1103, December.
    11. Ronnie Phillips, 1992. "The 'Chicago Plan' and New Deal Banking Reform," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_76, Levy Economics Institute.
    12. Stigler, George J, 1974. "Henry Calvert Simons," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-5, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Biondi Yuri, 2013. "Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis and the Accounting Structure of Economy," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 141-166, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary Policy; Financial Stability; Narrow Banking; Financial Regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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