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Presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Symposium “The Greenspan Era: Lessons for the Future”

By Michael Woodford, Ben Bernanke, Alan Blinder, Michael Ehrmann, Charles Goodhart and Larry Meyer

Abstract

draft, without implicating any of them in the views expressed here. I would also like to thank Mauro Roca for research assistance and the National Science Foundation for research support through a grant to the NBER. One of the most notable changes at the Federal Reserve during the tenure of Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Board of Governors has been a steady increase in the FOMC’s willingness to talk openly about the policy decisions that it has made and those it is likely to make in the future. Before the 1990s, central banking was shrouded in mystery, at the Fed as elsewhere. The title of William Greider’s 1987 bestseller about the Fed — Secrets of the Temple — gives an idea of the common perception of the institution at the beginning of the Greenspan era. This “mystique ” of central banking was jealously guarded by central bankers — as the epigraph indicates — as essential to their success. Things have changed rapidly over the past 15 years, both at the Fed and elsewhere. Indeed, St. Louis Fed President William Poole (2005) lists the increase in transparency, and the consequent increase in the predictability of monetary policy, as one of the four defining characteristics of “the Greenspan policy regime. ” Befor

Year: 2005
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