This paper finds that U.S. economic performance has not generally improved under the Federal Reserve, with the possible exception of the Great Moderation. We analyze the Fed and pre-Fed periods in terms of the rates and volatilities of inflation and real GDP growth. Comparing the pre-Fed periods to the post-World War II period and the Great Moderation, we find that real GDP growth has been lower under the Fed, while inflation has been higher. The volatilities of inflation and GDP growth have both declined under the Fed, but the reductions occurred mostly during the Great Moderation.
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