Summary of Inside the Fed

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Stephen H. Axilrod, a former top-level executive at the US Federal Reserve System, has written a dense first-hand report on the Fed’s inner workings and its policy development procedures. From the vantage point of his 30-year career at the Fed, he presents a detailed account of working closely with Fed chairmen William McChesney Martin, Arthur Burns, G. William Miller and Paul Volcker, along with astute observations about the tenures of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. Axilrod discusses how these distinct personalities tackled problems and made policy decisions. Given its slow pace and historical recollections about central bank operations – many of them inscrutable to the average reader – getAbstract recommends this look back to serious Fed observers who relish anecdotes about life inside the US central bank.

About the Author

Stephen H. Axilrod rose to Staff Director for Monetary and Financial Policy, and Staff Director and Secretary of the Federal Open Market Committee, at the US Federal Reserve System. Since 1986, he has worked in the private sector.

 

Summary

The Ultimate Insider

An economist by training, author Stephen H. Axilrod worked at the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC, from 1952 to 1986. In various roles with the Fed’s Board of Governors, Axilrod collaborated closely with Fed chairmen William McChesney Martin, Arthur Burns, G. William Miller and Paul Volcker. Under Burns, Miller and Volcker, Axilrod was the monetary-policy point man actively engaged in the fight against inflation that began in the 1970s. Axilrod continued his study of monetary policy development when he left the Fed to work in the private sector. Based on his Fed experience and trained eye, he followed the tenures of subsequent chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. Each Fed leader brought his personal style and character to the chairmanship, a role that often must carefully straddle politics and economics.

The Fed

The Board of Governors, along with 12 Federal Reserve Banks in various US cities, make up the Federal Reserve System established under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. An autonomous body, the Fed is “independent within the government.” Because it is responsible to Congress, it is often under legislative scrutiny.


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