Download PDF by Jeffrey A. Frankel, Peter R. Orszag: American Economic Policy in the 1990s

By Jeffrey A. Frankel, Peter R. Orszag

ISBN-10: 0262062305

ISBN-13: 9780262062305

An exam of U.S. fiscal coverage within the Nineteen Nineties, by means of prime coverage makers in addition to educational economists.

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Monetary Policy During the 1990s 33 Both actions reduced the amount of bank lending; the creation of inside money by the banking system went in reverse. As measured by currency plus demand deposits, the quantity of money fell by 25 percent from 1929 to 1933. If the Fed had been committed to stable growth in the broader monetary aggregates, it would have pursued a more expansionary policy than it did, and the Great Depression would have been less severe. Generals are said to often make the mistake of fighting the last war, and the same may be true of central bankers.

The policy has never been fully explained. Quite the contrary: the Fed chairman is famous for being opaque. If a successor tries to emulate the Greenspan Fed, he won’t have any idea how. The only consistent policy seems to be: study all the data carefully, and then set interest rates at the right level. Beyond that, there are no clearly stated guidelines. There is a great irony here. Conservative economists like Milton Friedman have long argued that discretionary monetary policy leads to trouble.

Perhaps because of the memory of its insufficient expansion during the 1930s, the Fed was too expansionary during the 1970s. The proximate cause of the Great Inflation was not monetary policy: the fiscal expansion resulting from the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and the OPEC oil shocks of 1973–74 and 1979–81 deserve much of the blame. But monetary policy accommodated these shocks to a degree that ensured persistent high inflation. The money supply grew rapidly throughout the 1970s, and inflation reached some of its highest levels on record.

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American Economic Policy in the 1990s by Jeffrey A. Frankel, Peter R. Orszag


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