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In a speech in January 1995, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan used a transportation metaphor to describe some of the difficulties of...

In a speech in January 1995, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan used a transportation metaphor to describe some of the difficulties of implementing monetary policy. He referred to the criticism levied against the Fed for shifting in 1994 to an anti-inflation, contractionary policy when the inflation rate was still quite low: "To successfully navigate a bend in the river, the barge must begin the turn well before the bend is reached. Even so, currents are always changing and even an experienced crew cannot foresee all the events that might occur as the river is being navigated. A year ago, the Fed began its turn (a shift toward an expansionary monetary policy), and it was successful."


Question: Mr. Greenspan was referring, of course, to the problem of lags. What kind of lag do you think he had in mind? What do you suppose the reference to changing currents means? How might this relate to the experience of Chairman Jerome Powell in 2018?

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Timing is a crucial thing... View the full answer

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