A Reawakening of Monetary Policy Research

Last May a group of economists, central bankers, market participants, and financial journalists convened at Stanford’s Hoover Institution “to put forth and discuss a set of policy recommendations that are consistent with and encourage a more rules-based policy for the Federal Reserve and would thus improve economic performance…”  Here’s the agenda, the published volume, and my summary.

Since then much has happened:  The House Financial Services Committee passed a policy rules bill out of committee, the Senate Banking Committee proposed a similar bill with other structural reforms (which also passed out of Committee), the Bank of England instituted significant communication reforms, a slew of economists and Fed officials weighed in (both pro and con) on proposals to make central bank policy rules more transparent, and Congress held several public hearings.

To analyze these new developments, many of the experts from last year’s conference and others convened last week to present papers and discuss key issues. All the papers are posted here. They were novel, on point, and rigorous whether using equations, regressions, history, legal analysis or political theory. The discussion was candid, with new questions raised about the effectiveness of the Fed’s deliberations. In my view it was kind of a reawakening—part of a broader reawakening—of monetary policy research. A written record of the whole conference is planned. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary...

To read the full post, click here.



This conference aims to consider central bank reforms relating to governance, oversight, and effectiveness. Since the Hoover conference “Frameworks for Central Banking in the Next Century,” held in May 2014, debates about central bank policy have intensified. This second conference will be in a round-table format, with short opening presentations, a lead discussant, and general discussion.

It will consider normalization of policy, recent changes in transparency, the expanded regulatory role of central banks, and bills that have been introduced to audit, impose specific reporting, reorganize, or place limits on the regulatory power of the central bank. Assessments of the costs and benefits of quantitative easing, negative interest rates, competitive easing, and international spillovers will inform the discussion.

The agenda for the conference at the Hoover Institution is below.

John B. Taylor, Stanford University

Thursday, may 21
Time Content Authors Discussant
9:00 - 10:00 AM How Can Central Banks Deliver Credible Commitment and Be “Emergency Institutions”? Paul Tucker John Cochrane
10:15 - 11:15 am Policy Rule Legislation in Practice David Papell Michael Dotsey
11:30 - 12:30 Pm Goals and Rules in Central Bank Design Carl Walsh Andrew Levin
1:30 - 2:30 pm Institutional Design: Deliberations, Decisions, and Committee Dynamics Kevin Warsh Peter Fisher
2:45 - 3:45 pm Historical Reflections on the Governance of the Fed Michael Bordo Mary Karr
4:00 - 5:15 pm Policy Panel on the Impact of Reform in Practice -- Charles Plosser, George Shultz, and John Williams


If you have any questions about the event, contact Marie-Christine Slakey at

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