June 29, 2015
Law And Custom On The Federal Open Markets Committee
Posted by David Zaring

My article on the administrative law and practice of the FOMC is available on SSRN, and has come out as part of a great symposium in Law and Contemporary Problems, with articles by Jim Cox, John Coates, Kate Judge, and many other people smarter than me.  Do give the paper a download, and let me know what you think.  Here's the abstract:

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which controls the supply of money in the United States, may be the country’s most important agency. But there has been no effort to come to grips with its administrative law; this article seeks to redress that gap. The principal claim is that the FOMC’s legally protected discretion, combined with the imperatives of bureaucratic organization in an institution whose raison d’etre is stability, has turned the agency into one governed by internally developed tradition in lieu of externally imposed constraints. The article evaluates how the agency makes decisions through a content analysis of FOMC meeting transcripts during the period when Alan Greenspan served as its chair, and reviews the minimal legal constraints on its decisionmaking doctrinally.

In addition to being your one stop shop for the legal constraints on the FOMC, the paper was an opportunity to do a fun content analysis on Greenspan era transcripts, and to see whether any simple measures correlated with changes in the federal funds rate.  In honor of Jay Wexler's Supreme Court study, I even checked to see if [LAUGHTER] made a difference in interest rates.  No!  It does not!  But more people may show up for meetings where the interest rate is going to change, tiny effect, but maybe something for obsessive hedge fund types.  Anyway, give it a look.

Administrative Law, Finance, Financial Institutions | Bookmark

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