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Fall 2023 Seminar

The Federal Reserve: Legal and Policy Issues

Prerequisite: None

Exam: No Exam

The Federal Reserve is a highly atypical, if not unique, institution within the United States Government. It has an almost conspiratorial origin, an unusual public-private structure, and arguably greater legal and customary autonomy than any other agency created by Congress. Students will read and discuss selected books and articles on the structure and functions of the Federal Reserve as the nation’s central bank.  Some (non-quantitative) economic reading also be assigned as background for understanding the legal and political issues.  A theme running through the course will be the impact of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 in reawakening political controversy over these matters after the three quarters of a century that had elapsed since the New Deal overhaul of the Fed’s governance.