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Should The Fed Smooth Interest Rates? The Case of Seasonal Monetary Policy

  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Jeffrey A. Miron

This paper examines the choice of monetary policy in response to seasonal fluctuations in the economy. It discusses the costs and benefits of smoothing interest rates over the seasons, which has been the Fed's policy since its founding in 1914, and presents simulations suggesting how the economy would behave under the alternative policy of stabilizing the money stock. Finally, it presents evidence that the smoothing of interest rates in 1914 changed the seasonal business cycle.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3388.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3388.

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Date of creation: Jun 1990
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 34, pp. 41-69,(Spring 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3388
Note: EFG ME ITI PE
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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "The Optimal Collection of Seigniorage: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Anil K Kashyap, 1994. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," NBER Working Papers 4855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Marvin Goodfriend, 1988. "Central banking under the gold standard," Working Paper 88-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  6. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-28, May.
  7. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A & Weil, David N, 1987. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: A Study of the Founding of the Federal Reserve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 358-74, June.
  8. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1989. "Building Blocks of Market Clearing Business Cycle Models," NBER Working Papers 3004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
  10. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  11. Gray, Jo Anna, 1976. "Wage indexation: A macroeconomic approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 221-235, April.
  12. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  13. Christina Romer & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1989. "A New Monthly Index of Industrial Production, 1884-1940," NBER Working Papers 3172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-34, June.
  15. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  16. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  17. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  18. Faig, Miquel, 1989. "Seasonal Fluctuations and the Demand for Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 847-61, November.
  19. Clark, Truman A, 1986. "Interest Rate Seasonals and the Federal Reserve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 76-125, February.
  20. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Affect Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 433-494.
  21. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer, 1988. "The New Keynsesian Economics and the Output-Inflation Trade-off," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 1-82.
  22. William Poole & Charles Lieberman, 1972. "Improving Monetary Control," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(2), pages 293-342.
  23. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  24. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1989. "Are Prices Too Sticky?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 507-24, August.
  25. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
  27. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and theFounding of the Fed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 125-40, March.
  28. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Can the Fed Control Real Interest Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: Rational Expectations and Economic Policy, pages 117-167 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Simon Kuznets, 1933. "Seasonal Variations in Industry and Trade," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn33-1, December.
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