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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)

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Shifting Mandates: The Federal Reserve's First Centennial

Article Citation

Reinhart, Carmen M., and Kenneth S. Rogoff. 2013. "Shifting Mandates: The Federal Reserve's First Centennial." American Economic Review, 103(3): 48-54.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.48

Abstract

The Federal Reserve's mandate has evolved considerably over the organization's hundred-year history. It was changed from an initial focus in 1913 on financial stability, to fiscal financing in World War II and its aftermath, to a strong anti-inflation focus from the late 1970s, and then back to greater emphasis on financial stability since the Great Contraction. Yet, as the Fed's mandate has expanded in recent years, its range of instruments has narrowed, partly based on a misguided belief in the inherent stability of financial markets. We argue for a return to multiple instruments, including a more active role for reserve requirements.

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Authors

Reinhart, Carmen M. (Harvard U)
Rogoff, Kenneth S. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

E31: Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
E44: Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E58: Central Banks and Their Policies
G21: Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
G28: Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation
N11: Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
N12: Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: U.S.; Canada: 1913-


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