Federal Reserve Structure, Economic Ideas, and Monetary and Financial Policy

68 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Michael D. Bordo

Michael D. Bordo

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Edward S. Prescott

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

The decentralized structure of the Federal Reserve System is evaluated as a mechanism for generating and processing new ideas on monetary and financial policy. The role of the Reserve Banks starting in the 1960s is emphasized. The introduction of monetarism in the 1960s, rational expectations in the 1970s, credibility in the 1980s, transparency, and other monetary policy ideas by Reserve Banks into the Federal Reserve System is documented. Contributions by Reserve Banks to policy on bank structure, bank regulation, and lender of last resort are also discussed. We argue that the Reserve Banks were willing to support and develop new ideas due to internal reforms to the FOMC that Chairman William McChesney Martin implemented in the 1950s. Furthermore, the Reserve Banks were able to succeed at this because of their private-public governance structure, a structure set up in 1913 for a highly decentralized Federal Reserve System, but which survived the centralization of the System in the Banking Act of 1935. We argue that this role of the Reserve Banks is an important benefit of the Federal Reserve’s decentralized structure by allowing for more competition in ideas and reducing groupthink.

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Suggested Citation

Bordo, Michael D. and Prescott, Edward (Ned) Simpson, Federal Reserve Structure, Economic Ideas, and Monetary and Financial Policy (July 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26098. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428151

Michael D. Bordo (Contact Author)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics ( email )

New Brunswick, NJ
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Edward (Ned) Simpson Prescott

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland ( email )

P.O. Box 6387
Cleveland, OH 44101
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.clevelandfed.org/people-search?pid=f8ca941e-4b51-41f6-95f8-c87f1d3806e5

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