The Evolution of Economic Understanding and Postwar Stabilization Policy
There have been large changes in the conduct of aggregate demand policy in the United States over the past fifty years. This paper shows that these changes in policy have resulted largely from changes in policymakers' beliefs about the functioning of the economy and the effects of policy. We document the changes in beliefs using contemporaneous discussions of the economy and policy by monetary and fiscal policymakers and, for the period since the late 1960s, using the Federal Reserve's internal forecasts. We find that policymakers' understanding of the economy has not exhibited steady improvement. Instead, the evidence reveals an evolution from a fairly crude but basically sound worldview in the 1950s, to a more sophisticated but deeply flawed model in the 1960s, to uncertainty and fluctuating beliefs in the 1970s, and finally to the modern worldview of the 1980s and 1990s. We establish a link between policymakers' beliefs and aggregate demand policy by examining narrative evidence on the motivation for key policy choices. We also compare monetary policymakers' choices with the implications of a modern estimated policy rule and show that the main differences are consistent with the changes in beliefs that we observe.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2002|
|Publication status:||published as Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2002. "The evolution of economic understanding and postwar stabilization policy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-78.|
|Note:||DAE EFG ME|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000.
"Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
- Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
- Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
- Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
- Orphanides, Athanasios, 2000. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Working Paper Series 0015, European Central Bank.
- John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John B. Taylor, 1998. "An Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mishkin, Frederic S., 1981. "The real interest rate: An empirical investigation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 151-200, January.
- Frederic S. Mishkin, 1981. "The Real Interest Rate: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 0622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
- Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- 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.
- Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1994. "Monetary policy matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 75-88, August. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9274. 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: ()
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.