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Jeffrey A. Frankel

Jeffrey A. Frankel is James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Economic Growth at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Titles by This Author

The decade of the 1980s left many central bankers disillusioned with monetarism, so that the question of the optimal nominal anchor remains an open one. In this second collection of his writings on financial markets (the first, On Exchange Rates, covered international finance), Jeffrey Frankel turns his attention to domestic markets, with special attention to how national monetary policy is handled. The fifteen papers are divided into three sections, each introduced by the author. They cover, respectively, optimal portfolio diversification, indicators of expected inflation, and the determination of monetary policy in the face of uncertainty.

In the first section, Frankel explores what information the theory of optimal portfolio diversification can give the macroeconomist. In the second section, he considers what economic variables central bankers might use to gauge whether monetary policy is too tight or too loose. And in the final section, he looks at the range of uncertainty over policy effects and how that complicates coordination of macroeconomic policymaking. The book concludes with a sympathetic analysis of nominal GDP targeting.

These seventeen essays provide an accessible and thorough reference for understanding the role of exchange rates in the international monetary system since 1973, when the rates were allowed to float. The essays analyze such issues as exchange rate movements, exchange risk premia, investor expectations of exchange rates and behavior of exchange rates in different systems. Frankel's sound empirical treatment of exchange rate questions shows that it is possible to produce work that is interesting from a purely intellectual viewpoint while contributing to practical knowledge of the real world of international economics and finance.

The essays have been organized in a way that provides an introduction to the field of empirical international finance. Part I documents the steady reduction in barriers to international capital movement and leads logically to part II, which explains how exchange rates are determined. Both monetary and portfolio-based models are surveyed in part II, providing a clear transition to the topic of part III; the possible existence of an exchange risk premium. Part IV applies the tools discussed in earlier sections to explore various policy questions related to exchange rate expectations such as whether foreign exchange intervention matters and whether the European monetary system had become credible by 1991. Each part begins with a detailed introduction explaining not only the central issues of that section but also suggesting connections with other essays in the book.

Titles by This Editor

The NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics brings together leading American and European economists to discuss a broad range of current issues in global macroeconomics. An international companion to the more American-focused NBER Macroeconomics Annual, the 2005 volume first explores macroeconomic issues of interest to all advanced economies, then analyzes topical questions concerning the eastward expansion of the European Monetary Union.Jeffrey A. Frankel is James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Economic Growth at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Christopher A. Pissarides is Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. Both are Research Associates at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics brings together leading American and European economists to discuss a broad range of current issues in global macroeconomics. An international companion to the more American-focused NBER Macroeconomics Annual, this particular volume offers cutting-edge research on monetary and fiscal policy responses to macroeconomic fluctuations, with special emphasis on tailoring a single monetary policy for the diverse economies that make up the European Monetary Union. The individual papers examine such topics as whether rule-based monetary policy should target price levels or inflation rates; how much cyclical correlation across countries can be attributed to transmission between multinational companies and their international affiliates; the different effects of monetary policy in high-debt and low-debt countries; and the prospects for the ten 2004 entrants to the European Union, based on the experiences of EU entrants of the 1980s.

The 1990s saw the best economic performance in the United States in three decades. Strong economic growth and falling unemployment were accompanied by low inflation and rising budget surpluses. Although personal bankruptcies climbed, the personal saving rate fell, and the trade deficit expanded, overall, U.S. economic performance during the 1990s was outstanding.

This book is a unique attempt to write the first history of the making of American economic policy during the 1990s. One way to view it is as a "debriefing" of those who made the decisions. Each chapter is devoted to a particular area of economic policy and consists of a background paper written by leading academic economists together with short essays by prominent policymakers, many of whom served in the Clinton administration or previous administrations, and by independent observers. The questions asked about each policy area include: What were the pros and cons of alternative options under consideration? What decision was made? What were the relevant economic arguments for that decision, and what political interests were served? Were other options missing from consideration? Is it possible to judge whether the decision was the right one? Are there lessons for the future?