Abstract

A recent paper by Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson (1997) suggests that monetary policy could be used to eliminate any recessionary consequences of an oil price shock. This paper challenges this conclusion on two grounds. First, we question whether the Federal Reserve actually has the power to implement such a policy; for example, we consider it unlikely that additional money creation would have succeeded in reducing the Fed funds rate by 900 basis points relative to the values seen in 1974. Second, we point out that the size of the effect that Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson attribute to oil shocks is substantially smaller than that reported by other researchers, primarily due to their choice of a shorter lag length than that used by other researchers. We offer evidence in favor of the longer lag length employed by previous research and show that under this specification, even the aggressive Federal Reserve policies proposed would not have succeeded in averting a downturn.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4616
Print ISSN
0022-2879
Pages
pp. 265-286
Launched on MUSE
2004-03-26
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2007
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