Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 14 No. 1 (Winter 2000)


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The Triumph of Monetarism?

Article Citation

De Long, J Bradford. 2000. "The Triumph of Monetarism?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(1): 83-94.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.1.83


The story of 20th century macroeconomics begins with Irving Fisher. In his books Appreciation and Interest (1896), The Rate of Interest (1907), and The Purchasing Power of Money (1911), Fisher fueled the intellectual fire that became known as monetarism. But what has happened to monetarism at the end of the 20th century? The short answer is that much of this current of thought is still there, but its insights pass under another name. We may not all be Keynesians now, but the influence of monetarism on how we all think about macroeconomics today has been deep, pervasive, and subtle. Why then do we today talk much more about the "New Keynesian" economists than about the "New Monetarist" economists? I believe that to answer this question we need to look at the history of monetarism over the 20th century. One fruitful way to look at the history of monetarism is to distinguish between four different variants or subspecies of monetarism that emerged and for a time flourished in the century just past: First Monetarism, Old Chicago Monetarism, High Monetarism, and Political Monetarism.

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De Long, J. Bradford (U CA, Berkeley and NBER)

JEL Classifications

E50: Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General
B22: History of Thought: Macroeconomics


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