Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 21 No. 4 (Fall 2007)
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How the World Achieved Consensus on Monetary Policy
Goodfriend, Marvin. 2007. "How the World Achieved Consensus on Monetary Policy." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(4): 47-68.
The worldwide progress in monetary policy is a great achievement and, especially considering the situation 30 years ago, a remarkable success story. I describe how the world achieved a working consensus on the core principles of monetary policy by the late 1990s. I survey the muddled state of affairs in the 1970s, and then ask: What happened in Federal Reserve policy to produce an understanding of the practical principles of monetary policy? How did formal institutional support for targeting low inflation abroad follow from an international acceptance of these ideas? And how did a consensus theoretical model develop in academia? I explain how the modern theoretical consensus -- known alternatively as the New Neoclassical Synthesis or the New Keynesian model of monetary policy -- reinforces key advances: the priority for price stability; the targeting of core rather than headline inflation; the importance of credibility for low inflation; and preemptive interest rate policy supported by transparent objectives and procedures. Of course, a working consensus does not constitute complete agreement. Accordingly, the conclusion identifies important monetary policy issues that remain to be explored.
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