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The Rise and Fall of Money Growth Targets as Guidelines for U.S. Monetary Policy

  • Benjamin M. Friedman
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    A familiar question raised by the Federal Reserve System's evolving use of money growth targets over the past twenty years is whether monetary policymakers had sound economic reasons for changing their procedures as they did -- either in adopting money growth targets in the first place, or in subsequently abandoning them, or in both instances. This paper addresses that question by comparing two kinds of evidence based on U.S. time-series data: first, evidence bearing on what Federal Reserve policymakers should have known about the relationship of money to income and prices, and when they should have known it; and second, evidence showing how and when the Federal Reserve changed its actual (as opposed to stated) reliance on money growth targets. The main conclusion from this comparison is that whatever economic conditions might have warranted reliance on money growth targets in the 1970s and early 1980s had long disappeared by the 1990s, so that abandoning these targets was an appropriate response to changing circumstances. Whether adopting money growth targets earlier on was likewise appropriate is less clear.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5465.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5465.

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    Date of creation: Feb 1996
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    Publication status: published as “The Rise and Fall of Money Growth Targets as Guidelines for U.S. Monetary Policy.” Kuroda (ed.), Toward More Effective Monetary Policy. London: Macmillan, 1996.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5465
    Note: ME
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Stephen M. Goldfeld, 1973. "The Demand for Money Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(3), pages 577-646.
    2. Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "How Important is the Credit Channel in the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Friedman, Benjamin M. & Kuttner, Kenneth N., 1993. "Another look at the evidence on money-income causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 189-203.
    4. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1995. "Inflation Indicators and Inflation Policy," NBER Working Papers 5161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1993. "The role of judgment and discretion in the conduct of monetary policy: consequences of changing financial markets," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 151-225.
    7. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1989. "Interpreting the evidence on money-income causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 161-181, January.
    8. Friedman, Benjamin M., 1990. "Targets and instruments of monetary policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1185-1230 Elsevier.
    9. Martin Feldstein & James H. Stock, 1993. "The Use of Monetary Aggregate to Target Nominal GDP," NBER Working Papers 4304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Sims, Christopher A & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1990. "Inference in Linear Time Series Models with Some Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 113-44, January.
    11. DeRosa, Paul & Stern, Gary H., 1977. "Monetary control and the federal funds rate," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 217-230, April.
    12. Christopher A. Sims, 1980. "Comparison of Interwar and Postwar Business Cycles: Monetarism Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 0430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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