The rise and fall of a policy rule: monetarism at the St. Louis Fed, 1968-1986
From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis played an important and highly visible role in the development and advocacy of stabilization policy based on the targeting of monetary aggregates. Research conducted at the St. Louis Bank extended earlier monetarist analysis that had focused on the role of money in explaining economic activity in the long run. Their success in finding apparently robust, stable relationships in both long- and short-run data led monetarists to apply long-run propositions to short-run policy questions, effectively competing with alternative views ...
The balance of risks
Interest rate targets abandoned
Are credit unions too small?
Since 1985, the share of U.S. depository institution assets held by credit unions has nearly doubled, and the average (inflation-adjusted) size of credit unions has increased over 600 percent. We use a non-parametric local-linear estimator to estimate a cost relationship for credit unions and derive estimates of ray-scale and expansion-path scale economies. We employ a dimension-reduction technique to reduce estimation error, and bootstrap methods for inference. We find substantial evidence of increasing returns to scale across the range of sizes observed among credit unions, suggesting that ...
The real population problem: too few working, too many retired
It's not the total number of people that should be causing worry, but the number of retired people relative to those still working. Across the world, the ranks of retirees are swelling and the ranks of those working - and paying taxes to support retirees - are not keeping up.
Commentary on The real effects of U.S. banking deregulation
Federal Reserve lending to troubled banks during the financial crisis, 2007-10
Numerous commentaries have questioned both the legality and appropriateness of Federal Reserve lending to banks during the recent financial crisis. This article addresses two questions motivated by such commentary: 1) Did the Federal Reserve violate either the letter or spirit of the law by lending to undercapitalized banks? 2) Did Federal Reserve credit constitute a large fraction of the deposit liabilities of failed banks during their last year prior to failure? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) imposed limits on the number of days that the Federal ...
Monetary policy in the Great Depression and beyond: the sources of the Fed's inflation bias
The deflationary outcome of monetary policy during the Great Depression had two fundamental causes: 1) the Federal Reserve's use of flawed operating guides, and 2) a decision to make preservation of the gold standard the overriding objective of policy. The Great Depression resulted in lasting changes in the domestic and international monetary regime that substantially weakened the gold standard, increased political control of monetary policy, and created new opportunities to monetize government debt, all of which gave monetary policy an inflation bias. Uncorrected flaws in the Federal Reserve ...
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 ...
Regulation and bank failures: new evidence from the agricultural collapse of the 1920's
This article examines the contribution of government policies to the high number of bank failures in the United States during the l920s. I consider the state of Kansas, which had a system of voluntary deposit insurance and where branch banking was strictly prohibited, and find that bank failure rates were highest in counties suffering the greatest agricultural distress and where deposit insurance system membership was the highest. The evidence for Kansas illustrates how prohibitions on branch banking caused unit banks to be especially susceptible to local economic shocks, and suggests that, ...