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An Introduction to U.S. Monetary Policy

An Introduction to U.S. Monetary Policy

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In the text that follows, I hope to demystify many of these issues in monetary economics and monetary policy. Understanding what the Federal Reserve System (“the Fed”) does today and how it attempts to achieve macroeconomic policy goals requires some knowledge of where the Fed came from, what tools it has at its disposal, and what various objectives it might be trying to accomplish. I will explore the history of monetary institutions in the United States to put the Fed’s role in context and then look at the tools it can use to affect the money supply and, in turn, the macroeconomy. There are a variety of indicators that monetary policy makers might choose to affect, and which ones they target depends on their beliefs about the state of the economy and, more importantly, the particular macroeconomic theory they subscribe to. I will critically assess several of those frameworks and offer a superior alternative.
In the text that follows, I hope to demystify many of these issues in monetary economics and monetary policy. Understanding what the Federal Reserve System (“the Fed”) does today and how it attempts to achieve macroeconomic policy goals requires some knowledge of where the Fed came from, what tools it has at its disposal, and what various objectives it might be trying to accomplish. I will explore the history of monetary institutions in the United States to put the Fed’s role in context and then look at the tools it can use to affect the money supply and, in turn, the macroeconomy. There are a variety of indicators that monetary policy makers might choose to affect, and which ones they target depends on their beliefs about the state of the economy and, more importantly, the particular macroeconomic theory they subscribe to. I will critically assess several of those frameworks and offer a superior alternative.

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03/27/2014

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AN INTRODUCTION TO US MONETARY POLICYSteven Horwitz
MERCATUSRESEARCH
Bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems
 
Copyright © 2013 by Steven Horwitzand the Mercatus Center at George Mason University Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason University 3351 Fairfax Drive, 4th Floor Arlington, VA 22201-4433(703) 993-4930mercatus.org Release date: April 2, 2013Corrected version
ABOUT THE MERCATUS CENTER AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
The Mercatus Center 
at George Mason University is the world’s premieruniversity source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academicideas and real-world problems. A university-based research center, Mercatus advances knowledge about howmarkets work to improve people’s lives by training graduate students, conduct-ing research, and applying economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems.Our mission is to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions thataffect the freedom to prosper and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful lives.Founded in 1980, the Mercatus Center is located on George Mason University’s Arlington campus.www.mercatus.org 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Horwitz is
an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center atGeorge Mason University, as well as the Charles A. Dana professor of econom-ics at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He completed his MA andPhD in economics at George Mason University and received his AB in economicsand philosophy from the University of Michigan. He is the author of two books,
 Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective
and
 Monetary Evolution, Free Banking, and Economic Order
, and he has written extensively on Austrian economics, Hayekian political economy, monetary theory and history, andmacroeconomics. The author of numerous op-eds, Horwitz is a frequent guest onTV and radio programs, speaking particularly on the Great Recession and mon-etary policy. A member of the Mont Pelerin Society, Horwitz has spoken to profes-sional, student, policy-maker, and general audiences throughout the United States,Canada, Europe, and South America.

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