by Jerry O'Driscoll* The U.S. economy has been growing slowly but steadily since the trough of the Great Recession in June 2009. Deep recessions are typically followed sharp recoveries. Not so this time. More recently, there is the mystery of low inflation. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the core PCE index, has consistently fallen short … Continue reading Fed Policy and Velocity’s Dance
by Gunther Schnabl* The European Central Bank (ECB) continues buying securities. By the end of 2017, the balance sheet is expected to have further grown by about 800 billion euros. This corresponds to a growth rate of 20 percent per year, while real growth of the euro area is expected to be only 1.5 percent. … Continue reading Inflation Is Not Measured Correctly
by Andreas Hoffmann and Nicolás Cachanosky The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) and European Central Bank’s (ECB) policy responses to the recent financial disasters offer two tales of unintended consequences. Our previous post outlined undesired effects of the Fed’s policies. In this post, we suggest that the ECB’s stabilization policy did not only fail to achieve its … Continue reading Unintended Monetary Policy Effects – Tale II: ECB Crisis Policies
by Taiki Murai and Gunther Schnabl[*] In the second half of the 1980s, 13 Japanese city banks climbed into the group of the world's largest banks, boosted by a domestic speculation boom. With the bursting of the Japanese financial “bubble” in the early 1990s, a gradual decline followed. Since then, the Japanese city banks have … Continue reading The Bank of Japan Creates a State-Led Monopolistic Banking System
by Andreas Hoffmann The pre-crisis Jackson Hole Consensus view on how to take asset market developments into account in monetary policy can be summarized as follows: Because it is hard to spot bubbles in asset markets with certainty ex-ante, central bankers should not lean against the wind when there seems to be a boom in … Continue reading Should Central Banks Lean Against the Wind?
by Nicolás Cachanosky and Andreas Hoffmann Even when a policy is successful in achieving its desired ends, we have to consider its unintended and unforeseen consequences, resulting from cumulative market adjustments to policy changes that make it hard to judge the overall outcome of a policy in our complex economy. The Federal Reserve and European … Continue reading Two Tales of Unintended Consequences of Monetary Policy – Tale 1
by Gunther Schnabl* The Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump were unexpected and were followed by a search for explanations. Subsequently, the common view spread that globalization is at the root of the frustrations of more and more people who are susceptible to strong nationalist statements from populists. This is surprising because … Continue reading Globalization Alone Does Not Produce Losers!
by Andreas Hoffmann Government debt levels in many advanced economies, especially in Southern Europe, in the US and in Japan, have reached peacetime records. People are worried and rightly so: C. Reinhart and K. Rogoff have provided evidence that elevated debt-to-GDP ratios may contribute to stagnation or even debt crises. As austerity policies are unpopular … Continue reading Beware of Financial Repression
by Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Jr. I have been reading Central Bank Governance & Oversight Reform, edited by John H. Cochrane and John B. Taylor. It is a conference volume of unusually high quality with all the discussions of presentations included. I plan to write more about the book later, but to highlight one chapter here. … Continue reading The Fed’s Institutional Design
by Roger Koppl Oliver Blanchard tells us “Where Danger Lurks” in the macro-finance world. The big theme is nonlinearity, which is a profoundly conservative move: DSGE modeling is just fine and we don’t need to rethink it at all. We just need to add in some nonlinearities. Blanchard does not tell how to calibrate a … Continue reading The Blanchard Danger
by Alexander Czombera* If there is one single law in economics then it is that markets tend to equilibrium. Or, to align this with Grove’s law (“Technology will always win. You can delay technology by legal interference, but technology will flow around legal barriers”), the free market will find its ways, whether in white, grey … Continue reading Zimbabwean Currencies: Condoms, Sweets and Paper Money
by Jerry O’Driscoll For the month of November, Cato Unbound features an essay by me on “The Fed at 100.” Over the course of a week, there will be comments by Larry White, Scott Sumner and Jerry Jordan. I will respond to these as appropriate. “End the Fed” has become a political slogan. Long … Continue reading Instead of the Fed
by Mario Rizzo ThinkMarkets blogger, Cato Senior Scholar, and former VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Jr., speaks on the Fox Business channel about the problems of deliberate inflation as a policy to reduce unemployment and spur growth. See the video here: Gerald O'Driscoll on Inflation
by Mario Rizzo The Fed has become desperate, not because the American economy is currently falling apart, but because the economy has stubbornly failed to respond well to the policies of the “best and the brightest.” And now, as if to welcome the impending chairmanship of Janet Yellen, stories are surfacing in various places about … Continue reading The Return of Inflationism?
by Andreas Hoffmann (University of Leipzig) In a recent piece Jesus Huerta de Soto (2012) argues that the euro is a proxy for the gold standard. He draws several analogies between the euro and the classical gold standard (1880-1912). Like when "going on gold" European governments gave up monetary sovereignty by introducing the euro. Like … Continue reading The Euro: a Step Toward the Gold Standard?
By Jerry O’Driscoll Cyprus is the latest country to succumb to the financial rot in the European Union. Once a banking center, its citizens now cannot pay for their own imports. Exporters are demanding cash only for goods sent to Cypriote businesses. Credit has dried up. Businesses are closing because they have no goods … Continue reading Cyprus
by Jerry O’Driscoll In today’s Wall Street Journal, John Taylor explains why the U.S. recovery has been tepid while money growth has been very rapid. The recovery has set records for its weak pace, while money growth has set records for its rapidity. Taylor supplies some of the numbers. Taylor continues an argument he made … Continue reading Easy Money, Slow Growth
by Mario Rizzo There has been a lively debate on forecasts of high inflation made by those worried about the Fed’s recent policy of quantitative easing. For details I refer the reader to Daniel Kuehn's excellent blog. The question to which I address myself is solely “What do these predictions have to do with core Austrian … Continue reading Clarifications of the Austro-Wicksellian Business Cycle Theory
by Andreas Hoffmann and Holger Zemanek* Over the last two years Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia have published a series of papers on financial repression and its historical role in financing government debt. They show that throughout the Bretton Woods period governments in many advanced economies repressed financial markets to liquidate the high levels of debt that … Continue reading Government Revenues from Low-Interest Rate Policies
by Jerry O’Driscoll The 30th annual Cato monetary conference was held in Washington, D.C. on November 15th. The theme was “Money, Markets, and Government: The Next 30 Years.” It was heavily attended in Cato’s new state-of-the-art Hayek auditorium. Jim Dorn has ably directed it over its entire history. Because of the conference’s breadth and depth, I … Continue reading Money and Government
by Mario Rizzo Douglas Irwin, a very fine economist at Dartmouth College, has a very puzzling opinion piece in yesterday’s Financial Times. The root of the puzzle is that Irwin seems to accept what I consider the naïve monetarist view, yet calling it by a new name “market monetarism,” that the effectiveness of monetary policy largely … Continue reading “Modern Market” Monetarism?
by Chidem Kurdas A few days ago the House passed with a veto-proof majority the bill known as “audit the fed” or more plainly as H.R. 459, sponsored by Ron Paul. If it became law, it would open the Federal Reserve’s policy deliberations and decisions, certain operations and dealings with foreign banks and governments to scrutiny … Continue reading Who Should Audit the Fed?
by Chidem Kurdas At the current economic juncture two camps offer diametrically opposed macro policy prescriptions. Economists on the Keynesian side such as Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman advocate further monetary easing by the Federal Reserve and massive new federal deficit spending. The opposing camp includes Austrians and monetarists. Among its distinguished members is Allan Meltzer, who in … Continue reading Uncertainty and the Keynesians
by Jerry O’Driscoll “Why is easy monetary policy such a sin? Because in such an environment, loans are cheap and borrowers can finance every project that they dream up. This results in excesses, and also increases the severity of the recession that inevitably follows when the bubble bursts.”
by Chidem Kurdas The case made for minimal government by Milton and Rose Friedman in their 1979 book, Free to Choose, has been debunked, according to Berkeley professor Brad DeLong. Basically, he avers that the Friedman program has been tried and failed. As a commentary on Friedman, this is outrageously misleading. But Mr. DeLong provides … Continue reading DeLong, Friedman and Maximal Government