Does the large drop in the U.S. labor force participation rate justify a monetary policy that is easier, for longer, than suggested by our models or the Fed’s current description of its policy? Chris Erceg and Andy Levin, two senior researchers at the Fed now on leave at the IMF, argue yes. Their analysis will provide fuel to the monetary policy doves who argue the Fed is failing to meet its employment mandate, and points to a battle ahead. But it doesn’t really settle questions about whether monetary policy is an effective tool for bringing these workers back into the work force, or whether it can be done without creating inflationary pressure (which speaks to other leg of the Fed’s mandate). Still, their paper is an important read.
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