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Past meets present in policymaking: The Federal Reserve and the U.S. money market, 1913-1929

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Publication Genève: Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History, 2019
Collection Working Papers of the Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History; 2/2019
Description 28 p.
Abstract This paper contributes to our understanding of how the past is invoked in the present in the realm of economic policy. It focuses on the systemic financial reform envisaged by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which was supposed to displace the powerful New York call market with a new discount or acceptance market as the centrepiece of the U.S. money market. The paper shows that the past was remembered and ignored in ways that were crucial in generating “lessons” about the necessity and possibility of radical financial reform in the United States. It reveals the strong commitment to these lessons by prominent officials in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in designing and implementing policies for reform. Their commitment proved to be unwavering even in the face of mounting criticism that their policies were failing to promote the development of an acceptance market. By focussing on the anaemic demand for acceptances as a key obstacle to reform, I suggest that policymakers were so fixated on the past that they overlooked the potential implications of unexpected changes in the US money market since the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. Thus, they responded with frustration to the failure of their efforts to achieve the financial reform envisaged by that Act without contemplating any serious alternative to it.
Keywords Financial historyMoney marketsCall loansAcceptancesUses of the pastMonetary and financial reformFederal Reserve Act.
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O'SULLIVAN, Mary. Past meets present in policymaking: The Federal Reserve and the U.S. money market, 1913-1929. 2019 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:121790

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Deposited on : 2019-08-26

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