Instead of the Fed: Past and Present Alternatives to the Federal Reserve System

Nov 01, 2013
George Mason University - Arlington Campus

The one-day academic conference will include presentations of recent research by leading monetary experts from around the world on the different non-central-bank-based alternatives for monetary reforms that might have been adopted in 1914, as well as alternatives that might take the Fed's place in the future.

Conference Program

Friday November 1st, Founder’s Hall Room 125, George Mason University

8:00am-8:25am. Continental Breakfast

8:25am-8:30am. Opening Remarks: George Selgin, Professor of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.


8:30am-10:30am. Session 1: Revising the pre-Fed Record

“A new monthly chronology of the US industrial cycles in the prewar economy.”

Claude Diebolt, Fellow, University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study.

"Real shocks, monetary shocks and the potential role of a central bank in the pre-1914 U.S."

Christopher Hanes, Professor of Economics, Binghamton University.

“Did the Fed help to form a more perfect monetary union?”

John James, Professor of Economics, University of Virginia.

Comments by: William D. Lastrapes, Professor of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.

10:30am-10:45am. Coffee Break

10:45am-12:45pm. Session 2: Roads not Taken

"O.M.W. Sprague (the man who wrote the book on financial crises) and the founding of the Federal Reserve."

Hugh Rockoff, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Rutgers University.

“Liquidity Provision during the Crisis of 1914: Private and Public Sources.”

Ellis Tallman, Professorof Economics, Oberlin College.

  “Clearinghouses as credit regulators before the Fed.”

Matthew Jaremski, Assistant Professor of Economics, Colgate University.

Comments by: David C. Wheelock, Vice President and Deputy Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

12:45pm-2:00pm. Buffet Lunch & Keynote Address: Jerry Jordan, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.


2:00pm-4:00pm. Session 3: Rule-Based Fiat Regimes

"Monetary stability and the rule of law: a historical perspective."

Mark Koyama, Assistant Professor of Economics, George Mason University.

"Nominal GDP Targeting: Policy Rule or Ad-Hoc Splurge?"

Bennett McCallum, H. J. Heinz Professor of Economics, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University.

"Nominal GDP Futures Targeting."

Scott Sumner, Professor of Economics, Bentley University.

Comments by: Gerald O’Driscoll, Jr. Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

4:00pm-4:15pm. Coffee Break

4:15pm-6:15pm. Session 4: Alternatives to Fiat Money

“Synthetic commodity money.”

George Selgin, Professor of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.

“The economics of alternative private currencies.”

Jerry Dwyer, Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta.

"On the merits and feasibility of returning to a commodity standard."

Lawrence White, George Mason University.

Comments by: Warren Coats, formerly Assistant Director, International Monetary Fund, Monetary & Capital Markets Dept.

6:15pm-7:15pm Reception

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Leibundguth at 703-993-4967 or

Click here for directions and a map of the campus.