Dialogue with the Fed

Dialogue with the Fed logo Dialogue with the Fed is the St. Louis Fed's popular evening lecture series open to the general public. Designed to address the key economic issues of the day, it also provides the opportunity to ask questions of Fed experts. Dialogue with the Fed, launched in the fall of 2011, is held at the St. Louis Fed and its branches, with the discussions at the St. Louis Fed also available via live webcast.

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Monetary Policy Normalization: What's New? What's Old? How Does It Matter?

May 28, 2015
Discussion and Q&A:
6:30-8 p.m.
Watch the live stream.

Our next Dialogue with the Fed will be held Thursday, May 28, 2015, and will feature Stephen Williamson, St. Louis Fed vice president and economist. Williamson will discuss monetary policy in the U.S. in recent years and the implications of the Fed returning to a more normal monetary policy stance.

During the financial crisis of 2007-09 and its aftermath, the Federal Reserve lowered its short-term policy interest rate – the federal funds rate target – essentially to zero and then turned to unconventional monetary policy to further stimulate the U.S. economy. In particular, the Fed used forward guidance, or a promise to keep the policy rate near-zero into the future, and also large-scale asset purchase programs, commonly known as quantitative easing. The federal funds rate target has been close to zero for more than six years now, which is unprecedented since World War II. In addition, the Fed's balance sheet has grown significantly – the size of its assets today is more than four times what it was in 2007.

As the economy has improved, debate has now shifted toward a discussion of "liftoff" of the federal funds rate target and overall normalization of monetary policy. What is meant by "liftoff" and by "normalization"? How might the Fed accomplish these actions, and under what conditions? What are the implications of higher interest rates and a smaller Fed balance sheet for consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole?

Williamson will discuss these and other questions during his Dialogue presentation. He will be joined by Cletus Coughlin, senior vice president and policy adviser to President James Bullard, and Christopher Waller, senior vice president and director of research, for a panel discussion and audience Q&A.

As always, there is no charge to attend this event, but registration is required by May 21. For more information, or to register to attend, see the event listing.