IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Remains from the Volcker Experiment?


  • Benjamin M. Friedman


Under conventional representations of economic policymaking, any innovation is either (1) a change in the objectives that policymakers are seeking to achieve, (2) a change in the choice of policy instrument, or (3) a change in the way auxiliary aspects of economic activity are used to steer policy in the context of time lags. Most public discussion of the 1979 Volcker experiment at the time, and likewise most of the subsequent academic literature, emphasized either the role of quantitative targets for money growth (3) or the use of an open market operating procedure based on a reserves quantity rather than a short-term interest rate (2). With time, however, neither has survived as part of U.S. monetary policymaking. What remains is the question of whether 1979 brought a new, greater weight on the Federal Reserve%u2019s objective of price stability vis-a-vis its objective of output growth and high employment (1). That is certainly one interpretation of the historical record. But the historical evidence is also consistent with the view that the 1970s were exceptional, rather than that the experience since 1979 has differed from what went before as a whole.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin M. Friedman, 2005. "What Remains from the Volcker Experiment?," NBER Working Papers 11346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11346
    Note: ME

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2004. "Why the Federal Reserve Should Not Adopt Inflation Targeting," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 129-136, March.
    2. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-175, April.
    3. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Why the Federal Reserve Should Adopt Inflation Targeting," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 117-127, March.
    4. Barro, Robert J., 1989. "Interest-rate targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 3-30, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jculte:v:41:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10824-017-9294-0 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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:


    Access and download statistics


    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:nbr:nberwo:11346. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.