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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Karl Brunner and U.K. Monetary Debate
Edward Nelson
Abstract

Although he was based in the United States, leading monetarist Karl Brunner participated in debates in the United Kingdom on monetary analysis and policy from the 1960s to the 1980s. During the 1960s, his participation in the debates was limited to research papers, but in the 1970s, as monetarism attracted national attention, Brunner made contributions to U.K. media discussions. In the pre-1979 period, he was highly critical of the U.K. authorities’ nonmonetary approach to the analysis and control of inflation-an approach supported by leading U.K. Keynesians. In the early 1980s, Brunner had direct interaction with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on issues relating to monetary control and monetary strategy. He was unsuccessful in persuading her to use the monetary base-instead of a short-term interest rate-as the instrument for implementing monetary policy. However, following his interventions, the U.K. authorities during the 1980s assigned weight to the monetary b ase as an indicator and target of monetary policy. Brunner’s imprint on U.K. monetary policy has also been felt in the twenty-first century. Brunner’s analysis, with Allan Meltzer, of the monetary transmission mechanism helped provide the basis for the policy of quantitative easing followed by the Bank of England.


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Edward Nelson, Karl Brunner and U.K. Monetary Debate, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-004, 01 Feb 2019.
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Keywords: Karl Brunner ; U.K. monetary policy ; Monetarism ; Monetary base control ; Transmission mechanism
DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2019.004
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