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Everything Is Under Control


In the last section, the author says Sims of Yale imposed the policies of the modern Fed on the economy of the 1930s and vice versa and that swapping strategies had little effect on the outcome. Written in 2009, the reader naturally assumes the polices being referred to are those Bernanke has followed since Oct 2008. This is NOT true. The only way to tell it is not true is to check the Sims reference to find that Sims' work was published in 1998. Bernanke has radically changed the way the Fed's policies in the last 8 months.
posted by David Hawla
May 5, 2009 @ 4:50 PM

In response to David Hawla:

Thanks for that note of clarification. Of course you're correct. Sims looked at two broad periods, roughly 1919-1939 and 1949-1998. Obviously there was a lot of variation in monetary policy within each of those periods, but Sims maintains that the difference between the two periods is greater than the variation within either period. Whether we've now entered a third era remains to be seen -- but of course Sims couldn't have addressed that issue a decade ago.

As far as I know, the published version of Sims's paper is not available online, but there's a draft available on his home page, at

posted by Brian Hayes
May 6, 2009 @ 9:13 AM

Engineering is about physical, hence logically but not necessarily numerically quantifiable laws. Expansion tanks (cf savings) allow a hydraulic system to expand and contract as required, but of course the Phillips machine will overflow if the filling tap is left open (i.e. commercial banks are allowed to create fictional money and charge interest on it).
posted by David Taylor
June 30, 2009 @ 9:26 AM


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