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Even Keel and the Great Inflation

Using IV-GMM techniques and real-time data, we estimate a forward looking, Taylor-type reaction function incorporating dummy variables for even-keel operations and a variable for foreign official pressures on the U.S. gold stock during the Great Inflation. We show that when the Federal Reserve undertook even-keel operations to assist U.S. Treasury security sales, the FOMC tended to delay monetary-policy adjustments and to inject small amounts of reserves into the banking system.The operations, however, did not contribute significantly to the Great Inflation, because they occurred during periods of both monetary ease and monetary tightness, at least in the FOMC’s view. Consequently, the average federal funds rate during months containing even-keel events was no different than the average federal funds rate in other months, suggesting that even keel had no effect on the thrust of monetary policy. We also show that prospective gold losses had no effect on the FOMC’s monetary-policy decisions in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Keywords: Even Keel, Taylor Rule, Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury.

JEL classification: E5, N1, F3.

Suggested citation: Humpage, Owen F., and Sanchita Mukherjee, 2015. “Even Keel and the Great Inflation,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Paper, no. 15-32.

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