AbstractMilton Friedman's presidential address, “The Role of Monetary Policy,” which was delivered 50 years ago in December 1967 and published in the March 1968 issue of the American Economic Review, is unusual in the outsized role it has played. What explains the huge influence of this work, merely 17 pages in length? One factor is that Friedman addresses an important topic. Another is that it is written in simple, clear prose, making it an ideal addition to the reading lists of many courses. But what distinguishes Friedman's address is that it invites readers to reorient their thinking in a fundamental way. It was an invitation that, after hearing the arguments, many readers chose to accept. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to view Friedman's 1967 AEA presidential address as marking a turning point in the history of macroeconomic research. Our goal here is to assess this contribution, with the benefit of a half-century of hindsight. We discuss where macroeconomics was before the address, what insights Friedman offered, where researchers and central bankers stand today on these issues, and (most speculatively) where we may be heading in the future.
Journal of Economic Perspectives – American Economic Association
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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