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Monetarism: The Issues and the Outcome

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1986 by Allan Meltzer

The paper surveys some main issues in the monetarist-Keynesian debate of the 1960s and 1970s and the outcome of the debate. The debate was not static; the issues changed. At first Keynesians argued that money was largely irrelevant for output and the price level. By the end of the 1970s, issues such as neutrality, the natural rate, and the effect of inflation on nominal interest rates had been settled. Principal remaining issues were the use of money growth as a target, instrument, or indicator of monetary policy and reliance on rules. The paper sketches some of the progress on rules versus discretion in the past 20 years but focuses mostly on the role of money. Some evidence is presented for the U.S. supporting the monetarist position that control of money is useful in a medium-term or rule-based policy to control inflation as now advocated by several central banks.

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01/01/1986

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