This podcast is from the Library of Economics and Liberty’s EconTalk site. In it, Scott Sumner of Bentley University discusses with host Russ Roberts the role of monetary policy in the USA since 2007 and whether or not it was as expansionary as many people think.
In fact, Sumner argues that monetary policy was tight in late 2008 and that this precipitated the recession. He argues that the standard indicators of the tightness or ease of monetary policy, namely the rate of interest and the growth in the money supply, were misleading.
Sumner on Monetary Policy EconTalk podcast (9/11/09)
- Why is it important to look at the velocity of circulation of money when deciding the effect of interest rate changes or changes in the monetary base? Can the Fed’s failure to take velocity sufficiently into account be seen as a cause of the recession?
- Is there evidence of a liquidity trap operating in the USA in late 2008?
- How could the Fed have pursued a more expansionary policy, given that interest rates were eventually cut to virtually zero and the monetary base was expanded substantially?
- Why does Sumner argue that monetary policy should focus on influencing the growth in aggregate demand?
- How useful is the quantity equation, MV = PT (or MV = PY) in understanding the role and effectiveness of monetary policy?
- What is the Keynesian approach to monetary policy in a recession? How does this differ from the monetarist approach? Are both approaches focusing on the demand side and thus quite different from supply-side analysis of recession?
- Why is the consumer prices index (CPI) a poor indicator of a nominal shock to the economy? Should the central bank focus on nominal GDP, rather than CPI, as an indicator of the state of the economy and as a guide to the stance of monetary policy?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of using a Taylor rule as a guide to monetary policy? Would nominal GDP futures be a better target for monetary policy?