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Central Banking in Theory and Practice (Lionel Robbins Lectures) Paperback – January 29, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Lionel Robbins Lectures
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (January 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262522608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262522601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This brief exposé of central banking and monetarypolicy... should be required reading for all those, specialists andnonspecialists alike, interested in those subjects." Manuel Guitián , Finance and Development

About the Author

Alan S. Blinder is G. S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of The Quiet Revolution: Central Banking Goes Modern and other books.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
46%
4 star
23%
3 star
31%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 13 customer reviews
It was pretty easy to read and very informative.
Ricky
I was able to figure out the gist largely without external reference, but in retrospect I probably would have started with another book on the topic.
DXmachina9
Easy read, gives some insight to one of the former FED staffers.
Angelo Amendolia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nothing fancy, but a good testimony from a real central banker about how real central banking has been carried out in recent US history. It is much less glamorous than all the theories, models and arguments would have it. Logical, sensible and even-tempered, like a central banker. A small book easily read in an evening that brings a lot down to earth. Only four stars because nothing this reasonable deserves five.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DXmachina9 on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4 stars for title and Amazon description, 5 stars for book itself. I agree with the other reviewers that the author drives an approachable discussion of some of the important factors in central banking, but I have to say that I would recommend those who are interested in the topic with little background read another book first.

I am generally curious about the topic of central banking and after reading various wikipedia and federal reserve pages I wanted a little more detail. The title and description made it seem like this would be the right next step, but the author generally assumes the reader had more in-depth knowledge of the core topics and references terms and theories without describing them. I was able to figure out the gist largely without external reference, but in retrospect I probably would have started with another book on the topic.

Example terms / concepts used without much description: IS/LM model, Tinbergen-Theil framework

If I were to re-title the book, I would probably call it "Blinder's Reflections on Central Banking in Theory and Practice" or something that might more accurately reflect the expected background of the reader.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Ritterman on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
After having taken Macroeconomic Theory, Alan Blinder's book was extremely clear and understandable. His comments about Central Banking behavior make wonderful sense as he takes into account both academic and real world theaters. He was especially clairvoyant in his reasoning about why a Central Bank needs to establish credibility. A definite recommendation for those interested in the Federal Reserve and what they do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Seth Oldmixon on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Central Banking in Theory and Practice is a collection of three lectures by former Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and current Princeton economist Alan S. Blinder. It's a great overview of central banking, but it assumes a certain familiarity with economics and monetary policy - it's not a layman's book. Still, it's not impenetrable, and readers willing to put in some effort will likely find that they learn something about what is likely one of the most opaque parts of government.
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Format: Paperback
This short book offers a useful lesson in central banking. No one could deliver it better than Alan S. Blinder. As he notes with unusual immodesty, "there must be relatively few people who have been as deeply immersed in monetary policy from both the academic and central banking side as I have." (That was of course before Ben Bernanke became chairman of the Fed). The author's conviction is that both theory and practice could benefit from greater contact with and greater understanding from the other. So what does academic theory has to offer and how does it contribute to the central banker's toolbox?

First, modern macroeconomics provides a mode of thinking about the future that is known to economists as dynamic programming. The technique uses a lot of equations, but the underlying idea is very simple. At each point in time the central bank must select a plan for now and for the future that will produce the best available time-path for output and inflation. Unless you have thought through your expected future actions, it is impossible to make today's decision rationally. Of course, by the time period t+1 the policymaker will have new information and may wish to correct his or her plan. The idea is not to lock the central bank in a position it will later regret, but to maintain flexibility while making the best use of available information. The underlying rationale is quite intuitive: think about a person tinkering with the thermostat in a hotel room. The probability is that she will overshoot the desired temperature, and will then have to set a new target again, whereas she should have anticipated the curve path followed by the temperature right from the start. This is known to economists as the difference between adaptative and rational expectations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am still wondering how a tiny book can be so deep. Mr. Blinder made a complex set of concepts readable for economics undergraduates and the interested public alike. After reading this book, one may understand very well how monetary policy works -- at least in normal times, although the insights may help to understand some of the policies adopted during the great recession as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With all the ongoing news about Federal Reserve actions keeping interest rates low and pursuing Quantitative Easing I wanted a book that explained how these mechanisims work. The author has worked both in academia and within the Fed, so is in a great position to combine theory and practice. The book is mostly on practice, about which it explains some interesting points about policy-making and the importance of independence for the successful operation of central banks. I'm still looking for a concise book that deals with the equations, graphs, and calculations.
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