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Sunday, October 30, 2005

levitt on bernanke

Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt has this to say on the Federal Reserve:
If I had to guess, the Chairman of the Fed has a lot less impact on the day-to-day performance of the economy than most people think. Although Greenspan has been elevated to God-like status, I suspect that he has been at least as lucky as he has been good. One of the most important lessons of modern macroeconomics is that it is probably impossible at the present time to “fine tune” it. More or less, you just want the Fed to stay out of the way and not totally botch things. There is mounting evidence that the Great Depression (and maybe also the stagflation of the early 1970s) was due in large part to policymakers following exactly the wrong course of action.
I'm only an amateur economist, but it's nice to hear a professional one sum up the Fed in a way that closely matches my own gut feelings about the institution.

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