From Matt O’Brien at The Atlantic:
Chicago Federal Reserve president Charles Evans doesn’t look the part of a heretic. But in the cozy, conservative club that is central banking, he certainly qualifies. While most of his colleagues at the Fed have recently taken an even more hawkish turn, Evans remains a champion of additional monetary stimulus. And on Tuesday he took an even bigger step: He became the first sitting Fed member to endorse nominal GDP (NGDP) level targeting.
. . .
A PARADIGM SHIFT?
The Fed is still a long way off, if ever, from adopting an NGDP level target. But Evans’ endorsement of the idea is a big first step in what could be a hugely important paradigm shift. Even if there isn’t a large difference between the quasi-NGDP level target that is the Evans Rule and an actual NGDP level target, it’s a fairly radical new way of framing policy. Rather than the central bank letting the economy recover faster, it puts the onus for a faster recovery on the central bank.
Most incredible is how quickly the idea is gaining acceptance. It’s true that writers like The Atlantic’s own Clive Crook have long advocated the merits of NGDP targeting. But as recently as 2009, it was mostly just a few lonely bloggers like Scott Sumner and David Beckworth who picked up the torch. Then Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius and Paul Krugman said they were willing to give it a try. Now, a sitting Fed president is on board.
At this rate, it might not be long until we describe Evans as an orthodox central banker. Now that would be progress.
HT: John Bennett and Marcus Nunes.
PS. I’m way behind on comments, but will start to catch up today.