Staff Studies

Article excerpt

Staff Studies

The staff members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and of the Federal Reserve Banks undertake studies that cover a wide range of economic and financial subjects. From time to time the results of studies that are of general interest to the professions and to others are summarized in the FEDERAL RESERVE BULLETIN.

The analyses and conclusions set forth are those of the authors and do not necessarily indicate concurrence by the Board of Governors, by the Federal Reserve Banks, or by the members of their staffs.

Single copies of the full text of each of the studies or papers summarized in the BULLETIN are available without charge. The list of Federal Reserve Board publications at the back of each BULLETIN includes a separate section entitled "Staff Studies" that lists the studies that are currently available.

M2 PER UNIT OF POTENTIAL GNP AS AN ANCHOR FOR THE PRICE LEVEL

The velocities of the monetary aggregates have been quite variable during the current decade, leading some economists to conclude that the monetary authority cannot use any of the aggregates as a reliable anchor for the price level. This study questions that conclusion as it applies to M2: its velocity relative to the gross national product, while somewhat variable in the short run, has shown a flat trend over most of the twentieth century. This stability has likely stemmed in recent years from the flexibility of most rates paid on M2 deposits and, in earlier decades, from the flexible administration of Regulation Q and the introduction of new instruments. As a consequence of this stability, a comparatively reliable long-run link between M2 and the price level exists.

The study's analysis of M2 and prices starts with the question, What long-run price level will current holdings of M2 support? The long-run equilibrium price level, P*, is defined as being consistent with the current value of M2 when V2 is at its long-run level, V*, and when real GNP is at its long-run potential level, Q*. Algebraically, P* = M2.V*/Q*

Thus, P* is proportional to M2 per unit of potential output. Operationally, the mean of V2 since 1955:1 is used as the estimate of V*. …