Monetary policy and stock market booms and busts in the 20th century
This paper examines the association between monetary policy and stock market booms and busts in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany during the 20th century. Booms tended to arise when output growth was rapid and inflation was low, and end within a few months of an increase in inflation and monetary policy tightening. Latent variable VAR analysis of post-war data finds that inflation has had a particularly strong impact on market conditions, with disinflation shocks moving the market toward a boom and positive inflation shocks moving the market toward a bust. We conclude that ...
Historical evidence on business cycles: the international experience
Gold, fiat money and price stability
The classical gold standard has long been associated with long-run price stability. But short-run price variability led critics of the gold standard to propose reforms that look much like modern versions of price-path targeting. This paper uses a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model to examine price dynamics under alternative policy regimes. In the model, an inflation target provides more short-run price stability than does the gold standard and, although it introduces a unit root into the price level, it leads to as much long-term price stability as does the gold standard for ...
U.S. intervention and the early dollar float: 1973-1981
The dollar?s depreciation during the early floating rate period, 1973?1981, was a symptom of the Great Inflation. In that environment, sterilized foreign exchange interventions were ineffective in halting the dollar?s decline, but they showed a limited ability to smooth dollar movements. Only after the Volcker FOMC changed its monetary-policy approach and demonstrated a willingness to maintain a disinflationary stance despite severe economic weakness and high unemployment did the dollar begin a sustained appreciation. Also contributing to the ineffectiveness of the interventions was the ...
How the New Fed Municipal Bond Facility Capped Muni-Treasury Yield Spreads in the COVID-19 Recession
For over two centuries, the municipal bond market has been a source of systemic risk, which returned early in the COVID-19 downturn when borrowing from securities markets became costly for many private and public entities, and some found it difficult to borrow at all. Indeed, just before the Fed announced its unprecedented intervention into the municipal (muni) bond market, spreads of muni over Treasury yields rose in line with the unemployment rate and appeared headed to levels not seen since the Great Depression, when real municipal gross investment plunged 35 percent below 1929 levels. To ...
On the evolution of U.S. foreign-exchange-market intervention: thesis, theory, and institutions
Attitudes about foreign-exchange-market intervention in the United States evolved in tandem with views about monetary policy as policy makers grappled with the perennial problem of having more economic objectives than independent instruments with which to achieve them. This paper?the introductory chapter to our history of U.S. foreign exchange market intervention?explains this thesis and summarizes our conclusion: The Federal Reserve abandoned frequent foreign-exchange-market intervention because, rather than providing a solution to the instruments-versus-objectives problem, it interfered ...
Money, sticky wages, and the Great Depression
This paper examines the ability of a simple stylized general equilibrium model that incorporates nominal wage rigidity to explain the magnitude and persistence of the Great Depression in the United States. The impulses to our analysis are money supply shocks. The Taylor contracts model is surprisingly successful in accounting for the behavior of major macroaggregates and real wages during the downturn phase of the Depression, i.e., from 1929:3 through mid-1933. Our analysis provides support for the hypothesis that a monetary contraction operating through a sticky wage channel played a ...
Price stability and financial stability: the historical record
Although the economic performance of the U.S. economy in 1997 was very good, it was troubling in at least one respect for the Federal Open Market Committee. Traditional signals of inflation - rapid money growth and high levels of economic activity - were not accompanied by higher inflation. Rather, inflation fell steadily throughout the year. The committee put forth several hypotheses for the subdued inflation but found the situation puzzling, nevertheless. Compounding the problem, members did not know how long such dampening factors might last. In the end the FOMC changed the intended ...
Credit crises, money, and contractions: A historical view
The relatively infrequent nature of major credit distress events makes a historical approach particularly useful. Using a combination of historical narrative and econometric techniques, we identify major periods of credit distress from 1875 to 2007, examine the extent to which credit distress arises as part of the transmission> of monetary policy, and document the subsequent effect on output. Using turning points defined by the Harding-Pagan algorithm, we identify and compare the timing, duration, amplitude, and comovement of cycles in money, credit, and output. Regressions show that ...