Federal Reserve policy in an international context

Editor’s note: Please click here to download an uncorrected transcript of Ben Bernanke’s delivery of the Mundell-Fleming Lecture.

It’s good to be back. The past several months were a whirlwind as I prepared for the release of my memoir The Courage to Act and then traveled to promote it. I’m pleased to have the chance to sit down, switch gears, and return to writing, research, and blogging. I promise to post more frequently in coming months (which, admittedly, shouldn’t be too hard, compared to the recent benchmark).

This first returning post is more of a heads-up, however. Tomorrow (Thursday, November 5th), I will give the annual Mundell-Fleming lecture at the IMF. Marcus Fleming and Robert Mundell both worked at the IMF in the 1960s, and together their contributions laid the groundwork for our understanding of the relationships among exchange rates, monetary and fiscal policy, and international capital flows. (To learn more about the origins of the Mundell-Fleming model, see this article by IMF historian James M. Boughton.) 

In tomorrow’s lecture I will discuss a topic of substantial current relevance: the effects of U.S. monetary policy on other countries, especially emerging-market economies. Among the questions I will address: Does easy U.S. monetary policy unfairly benefit American exports, that is, is monetary ease a form of “currency war”? Does U.S. monetary policy create spillovers that threaten financial stability abroad? Does the “dollar standard” provide net benefits to the global economy? Are there potential benefits to international coordination of monetary and/or regulatory policies? Are emerging-market central banks powerless to achieve domestic objectives given our global financial and economic system?

My remarks, “Federal Reserve Policy in an International Context,” will be part of the IMF’s Sixteenth Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference: “Unconventional Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies.” If you’re interested in watching my presentation from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. (with an introduction by Maurice Obstfeld), click here. For those who aren’t able to watch it as it happens, the recorded video footage will be available the following day on the same site.

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