Does Monetary Policy Matter? a New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz

59 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2000  

Christina D. Romer

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David H. Romer

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1989

Abstract

This paper uses the historical record to isolate episodes in which there were large monetary disturbances not caused by output fluctuations. It then tests whether these monetary changes have important real effects. The central part of the paper is a study of postwar U.S. monetary history. We identify six episodes in which the Federal Reserve in effect decided to attempt to create a recession to reduce inflation. We find that a shift to anti-inflationary policy led, on average, to a rise in the unemployment rate of two percentage points, and that this effect is highly statistically significant and robust to a variety of changes in specification. We reach three other major conclusions. First, the real effects of these monetary disturbances are highly persistent. Second, the six shocks that we identify account for a considerable fraction of postwar economic fluctuations. And third, evidence from the interwar era also suggests that monetary disturbances have large real effects.

Suggested Citation

Romer, Christina D. and Romer, David H., Does Monetary Policy Matter? a New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz (May 1989). NBER Working Paper No. w2966. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227216

Christina D. Romer (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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510-642-6615 (Fax)

David H. Romer

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-0822 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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