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The U.K.'s Rocky Road to Stability

Nicoletta Batini

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Edward Nelson

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

March 2005

FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2005-020A

This paper provides an overview, using extensive documentary material, of developments in U.K. macroeconomic policy in the last half-century. Rather than focusing on well-known recent changes in policy arrangements (such as the introduction of inflation targeting in 1992 or central bank independence in 1997), we instead take a longer perspective, which characterizes the favorable economic performance in the 1990s and 2000s as the culmination of an overhaul of macroeconomic policy since the late 1970s. We stress that policymaking in recent decades has discarded various misconceptions about the macroeconomy and the monetary transmission mechanism that officials held in earlier periods. The misconceptions included: an underestimation of the importance of monetary policy in demand management until 1970; a failure to distinguish real and nominal interest rates until the late 1960s; the deployment until the mid-1980s of ineffective monetary control devices that did not alter the monetary base; and the adherence by policymakers in the 1960s and 1970s to nonmonetary views of the inflation process. We also consider developments in fiscal policy in light of changes in the doctrines underlying U.K. macroeconomic decisions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 116

Keywords: U.K. monetary policy, U.K. fiscal policy, inflation, instruments of monetary policy

JEL Classification: E51, E52, E60, E65

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Date posted: July 29, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Batini, Nicoletta and Nelson, Edward, The U.K.'s Rocky Road to Stability (March 2005). FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2005-020A. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=762565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.762565

Contact Information

Nicoletta Batini
International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )
700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States
Edward Nelson (Contact Author)
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )
411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States
314-444-8712 (Phone)
314-444-8731 (Fax)
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )
20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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