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

Registration for this webinar is now closed.

Registration for this event is now closed.

Please note that registration in the St. Louis Fed’s Gateway Conference Center Auditorium has reached full capacity and is now closed. This registration form is for the live simulcast of the presentation, which will be held in the St. Louis Fed’s River Room, across from the Auditorium. Registering for the River Room simulcast also automatically places you on a waiting list for seating in the Auditorium.

Join us for the St. Louis Fed's next Dialogue with the Fed, as Stephen Williamson, St. Louis Fed vice president and economist, discusses 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.

There is no charge to attend this event, but registration is required by May 21. Free parking will be available in the Fed's parking garage, adjacent to the Bank. A reception with light fare will begin at 6 p.m.; the dialogue will begin at 6:30 p.m. If you arrive at the beginning of the reception, you are invited to tour the Inside the Economy® Museum from 5:30-6:15 p.m. The museum is located on the ground floor of the Bank after you enter the building.

Questions? Contact Darby Alba at

Launched in the fall of 2011, Dialogue with the Fed is the St. Louis Fed's popular evening lecture series for the general public, designed to provide a forum for discussing key economic issues of the day. To view videos of past events, visit the Dialogue with the Fed website.