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The Credibility of the Federal Reserve's Monetary Targets

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  • J. Peter Ferderer

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

Abstract

In the 1970s the Federal Reserve began a policy of targeting monetary growth. Those who viewed this as a positive development felt that such a policy would allow the Fed to signal its intentions to be firm in its pursuit of an antiinflationary agenda. Moreover, if the Fed could pursue its agenda in a credible manner, the social costs of undertaking such a policy could, presumably, be reduced. In addition, credible monetary growth targets cause the money supply to follow a mean-reverting process. If the money supply and the aggregate price level are strongly related, monetary targets cause the aggregate price level to be mean reverting as well, thereby reducing long-run uncertainty about prices, raising allocative efficiency in capital markets, and increasing economic growth. In this working paper, J. Peter Ferderer explores the history of monetary targeting since the 1970s to determine the extent to which Fed actions have been seen as credible at reducing inflation, and the factors affecting credibility.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Peter Ferderer, 1999. "The Credibility of the Federal Reserve's Monetary Targets," Macroeconomics 9903006, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9903006
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 43; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter N. Ireland, 1993. "Price stability under long-run monetary targeting," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 25-46.
    2. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Baxter, Marianne, 1985. "The role of expectations in stabilization policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 343-362, May.
    4. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1987. "Reputational constraints on monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 141-181, January.
    5. Ann-Marie Meulendyke, 1988. "A review of Federal Reserve policy targets and operating guides in recent decades," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aut, pages 6-17.
    6. Ben Bernanke & Frederic Mishkin, 1992. "Central Bank Behavior and the Strategy of Monetary Policy: Observations from Six Industrialized Countries," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 183-238 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1984. "The Lucas Critique and the Volcker Deflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 211-215, May.
    8. Blackburn, Keith & Christensen, Michael, 1989. "Monetary Policy and Policy Credibility: Theories and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 1-45, March.
    9. Walsh, Carl E, 1986. "In Defense of Base Drift," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 692-700, September.
    10. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1985. "Commodity Prices, Money Surprises and Fed Credibility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 17(4), pages 425-438, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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