Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

Why Is Paul Krugman Still Calling for Fiscal Stimulus?

Author: Benn Steil
Weekly Standard

Benn Steil’s latest op-ed in The Weekly Standard examines Paul Krugman’s continuing calls for fiscal stimulus, as well as his defense of government wage intervention and mercantilism.  These have all been grounded in the assertion that the United States is in a “liquidity trap,” in which monetary policy is ineffective.  Steil explains why the theory of liquidity traps is logically inapplicable when the central bank’s policy rate is positive, as it has been in the United States since December, and concludes that it operates as a fig leaf behind which to advocate policies with less scientific rationales.

See more in United States; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

The Trump-Sanders China Syndrome

Authors: Benn Steil and Emma Smith
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil’s op-ed in the March 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Emma Smith, looks at presidential campaign charges that China is engaged in “currency manipulation” to boost net exports.  They show that the aims of China’s pegged exchange rate regime have varied over the past two decades, and have not always been mercantilist. In recent months, with capital flowing out of China at a prodigious rate, its interventions have been to keep its currency up—not down.  Launching a trade war with China over currency management, as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders intend, would therefore be nonsensical—as well as damaging to U.S. interests.

See more in China; United States; Monetary Policy; Elections

Op-Ed

Misreading the Fed on a Rate Increase

Author: Benn Steil
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil’s op-ed explains how the mechanics of implementing Federal Reserve monetary policy have changed radically since the crisis. Little known is that the new plumbing is not actually controlled by the FOMC, but by the much smaller Board of Governors. Given that the Board is decidedly more dovish than the FOMC, Fed watchers focused on the latter may be expecting a more aggressive timing and pace of rate rises than is likely.

See more in United States; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

The Austerity Wars: Debunking Paul Krugman

Author: Benn Steil
Forbes Online

Benn Steil’s new Forbes op-ed examines Paul Krugman's data analysis purporting to document definitively that "austerity," defined by declines in real government purchases, damaged growth between 2010 and 2013. He shows that this finding collapses entirely when he excludes countries without independent monetary policies, such as those in the Eurozone. For countries with independent monetary policies, changes in real government purchases had no effect on growth.

See more in Global; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

Europe's Bargain

Author: A. Michael Spence
Project Syndicate

A. Michael Spence argues that the eurozone has an opportunity to jumpstart economic recovery by relaxing fiscal constraints on the condition that member states use the reprieve to initiate public sector investment and structural reforms.

See more in Europe; Monetary Policy; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

Foreign Affairs Article

Taper Trouble

Author: Benn Steil

Benn Steil's essay in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs looks at the international consequences of U.S. monetary policy action. He argues that developing-nation governments are coming to see the need for engineering current-account surpluses and large dollar-reserve stockpiles as a means of insulating themselves against Fed-induced capital-flow whiplash. As this amounts to "currency manipulation" in the eyes of U.S. policymakers, trade tensions are apt to grow.

See more in Ukraine; United States; Monetary Policy; International Finance

Video

Can a Rule-Based Approach to Monetary Policy Enhance Economic Growth and Stability?

Speaker: Charles I. Plosser
Presider: Joyce Chang

Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser joins Joyce Chang of J.P. Morgan to discuss his views on monetary policymaking. Plosser advocates for a systematic monetary policy in which discretion and judgment are replaced by a more rule-based approach of reacting in predictable ways to particular economic conditions.

See more in Global; Monetary Policy