American Economic Policy in the 1990s by Jeffrey A. Frankel, Peter R. Orszag

By Jeffrey A. Frankel, Peter R. Orszag

An exam of U.S. financial coverage within the Nineteen Nineties, through top coverage makers in addition to educational economists.

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Extra resources for American Economic Policy in the 1990s

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As we saw earlier, the economy enjoyed low volatility in inflation. One might wonder whether this success came at a cost. That is, did the Fed achieve stable inflation by giving less weight to the goals of stable employment and growth? The answer appears to be no: the economy became more stable in every dimension. Of course, improvement in economic stabilization does not necessarily mean that policy-makers are doing a better job. Perhaps they were just lucky. 2 The Role of Luck The Fed’s job is to respond to shocks to the economy in order to stabilize output, employment, and inflation.

The low standard deviation shows that large supply shocks were not common. Moreover, the negative value for the average shock indicates that good shocks were more common than bad shocks. The third row of the table shows the worst shock that the Fed had to deal with during each decade. 65 percentage points more than core inflation during the 12 months ending February 1974. By contrast, the worst shock of the 1990s was less than one-fourth as large. This shock occurred in 1990 as a result of the Gulf War.

Friedman, Milton. 2001. An Interview. Macroeconomic Dynamics, 5:101–131. Greenspan, Alan. 1964. ’’ Journal of Finance, 19, no. 2 (May): 159–169. , and Mark W. Watson. 1999. ’’ Journal of Monetary Economics, 44, no. 2 (October): 293–335. Summers, Lawrence. 1991. ’’ Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, 23, no. 3, part 2 (August): 625–631. Taylor, John B. 1999. ’’ In John B. , Monetary Policy Rules. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Comments Alan Blinder Opening While the session has a broader title, I will follow Gregory Mankiw’s nice background paper in restricting my remarks to monetary policy.

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