Jackson Hole: Then and Now

Quite a few people expressed interest in my tweet on the very high ratio of men to women at the 1982 Jackson Hole conference: 23 to 1.  A CNN Money story and Justin  Wolfers tweet reported 6 to 1 this year. Some other differences between the 1982 meeting and 2013 meeting might also be of interest:

Only 2 foreign central banks were represented in 1982: Bank of Canada and Bundesbank. This year policymakers from 35 foreign central banks were in attendance.

There were only 3 media attendees (NYT, WSJ, Washington Post) in 1982. This year there were 13 media attendees on the list and that does not include many more (perhaps 20) who reported from outside the conference room.

Fed Chair Volcker attended in 1982, and every year since a Fed chair attended, until this year.

There were only 3 people at both the 1982 and the 2013 meeting: Alan Blinder, Allan Meltzer, and me. Blinder and I gave papers. Allan discussed a paper by Ben Friedman.

Blinder’s 1982 paper was on fiscal and monetary coordination and the idea that a tighter fiscal policy and an easier monetary policy would be appropriate for the United States at that time.  At this year’s conference, some mentioned that such a policy mix at emerging market countries over the past four years might have avoided the impact of QE on them.

My 1982 paper made a pitch for a new type of macro model.  I argued that monetary policy would benefit if the Fed replaced its Keynesian models with this new type.  The model was different from either new classical or Keynesian models: it combined staggered wages-prices and rational expectations—essentially a New Keynesian model.  Neither the Fed nor other central banks used such models then. Now they all do, adopting them over time. The label New Keynesian had not been coined then, so discussant Bob Gordon labeled it the Taylorian Approach in his comments.

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