Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 71A | January 2003

Can Monetary Policy Affect the Real Economy?

The Dubious Effectiveness of Interest Rate Policy
Central bankers and many economists have abandoned "activist" policies and monetarism and adopted in their place a new view of the role of monetary policy. This view draws on many of the tenets of more traditional theories of money—monetarism's emphasis on inflation control and skepticism about the use of easy-money policies to permanently increase output, and the Keynesian view that the total stock of money is not an important driving force behind either inflation or unemployment—yet it also takes a dim view of democratic input to the policymaking process. This brief evaluates a premise subscribed to by most central bankers: that monetary policy can be effectively used to control inflation without any permanent sacrifice in the form of reduced income or job opportunities.

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