This paper looks at the monetary policy decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and asks whether those decisions have been influenced solely by national concerns, or whether regional factors have played a role. All of the Federal Reserve’s policymakers have some regional identity, i.e., either their positions explicitly carry some regional affiliation or their region of origin is a factor that must be considered in the selection process. This research is relevant for the Fed, and it may also be relevant for Europe’s fledgling central bank in Frankfurt. Critics have asserted that ECB policymakers have an incentive to base policy on national developments and respond to national political pressures. We find that Fed policymakers do take into account developments in regional unemployment when deciding monetary policy, and that these regional developments are more important for central bankers at the hub than in the spokes. These findings are robust to a variety of different specifications of the voting equation.
Full paper (180 KB PDF)
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Last update: March 4, 2002