In Their Own Words: Perspectives from the FOMC and Congressional Banking Committees
Deliberating Monetary Policy, Forthcoming
86 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 29, 2011
In previous work on deliberations in monetary policy committees and congressional banking committees, we have examined the trends, thematic content and speakers’ arguments of central bankers and politicians as they discuss US monetary policy over three decades (1976-2008). By employing textual analysis software, we have been able to lend rigor and statistical significance to a large quantity of textual data — namely, (a) the transcripts of the FOMC meetings, (b) the congressional oversight hearings of the Fed’s Monetary Policy Report, and (c) the Senate re-confirmation hearings for Volcker, Greenspan and Bernanke. Our previous work provided us with an indirect measure of the intentions of committee members as they deliberate on monetary policy. In this paper, we strive for a more direct measure of their intentions through a series of open-ended questions to the participants themselves (and their staff). We interview 22 individuals who were either former members of the FOMC, members of either the House or Senate Banking Committee, or congressional staff with close dealings with these committees. Broadly speaking, our questions sought to illicit responses on four issue areas: (1) the quality of deliberation in committee meetings; (2) the effect that transparency has had on deliberations; (3) institutional features that enable or constrain deliberation; and (4) the extent to which key findings from our textual analysis of committee transcripts square with the experiences of participants.
Keywords: FOMC, Congress, Banking Committees, Monetary Policy, Financial Stability
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