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The New Economy and the Challenges for Macroeconomic Policy


  • Stephen G. Cecchetti


The accelerated introduction of information and communications technology into the economy has created numerous challenges for policymakers. This paper describes this New Economy and then proceeds to examine difficulties created for policymakers. The increased flexibility of the new economy argues against trying to use fiscal policy for stabilization and creates both immediate and long-term difficulties for monetary policy. Immediate difficulties concern the problems associated with estimating potential output when the productivity trend is shifting. During periods of transition, it is extremely difficult to distinguish permanent from transitory shifts in output growth, and adjust policy correctly. In the long-term, central banks must face the prospect of a significant decline in the demand for their liabilities, and a resulting loss of their primary interest rate policy instrument. The disappearance of the demand for central bank money for interbank settlement seems very unlikely, and so this concern seems unwarranted.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen G. Cecchetti, 2002. "The New Economy and the Challenges for Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 8935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8935
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 2001. "The new economy : background, historical perspective, questions, and speculations," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-43.
    2. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    3. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2000. "Decoupling at the Margin: The Threat to Monetary Policy from the Electronic Revolution in Banking," NBER Working Papers 7955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Charles Goodhart, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," FMG Special Papers sp125, Financial Markets Group.
    6. Arturo Estrella, 2002. "Securitization and the efficacy of monetary policy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 243-255.
    7. Friedman, Benjamin M, 2000. "Decoupling at the Margin: The Threat to Monetary Policy from the Electronic Revolution in Banking," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 261-272, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haydar, Akyazi & Seyfettin, Artan, 2006. "The reflections of new economy on monetary policy and central banking," MPRA Paper 603, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 Sep 2006.
    2. Ghafele, Roya & Gibert, Benjamin, 2011. "The transformative impact of business models," MPRA Paper 38346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Gilbert Cette & Christian Pfister, 2003. "The challenges of the "new economy" for monetary policy," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Monetary policy in a changing environment, volume 19, pages 213-233 Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Gilbert Cette & Christian Pfister, 2004. "Challenges of the “New Economy” for Monetary Policy," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 8, pages 27-36, Spring.

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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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