Fed sets agenda for Chicago ‘framework’ conference in June

April 1, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve on Monday released the agenda for a June conference to review how it conducts monetary policy, pulling together a stable of well-known academics to comment alongside union members, community groups and others with a potentially different take on central banking.

The two-day session will be held June 4-5 in Chicago, the centerpiece event of a year-long analysis of whether the Fed should change the tools it uses, the way it talks to the public, and the way it defines its core goals of stable inflation and maximum sustainable employment.

The Fed has made major changes before, particularly in the years following the 2007 to 2009 economic crisis when it used tactics like massive bond purchases to stimulate the economy, introduced an explicit goal for inflation of 2 percent, and began holding more regular press conferences to shape public and market perceptions of Fed policy.

But the Chicago session will mark an unusual foray by the Fed into a sort of public hearing format to help inform its review.

The sessions will include formal presentations by academics like Harvard University professor James Stock and University of Chicago professor Anil Kashyap, frequent contributors to economics research and monetary policy conferences.

But the announced panelists also include Patrick Dujakovich, head of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO labor union, Janie Barrera of the non-profit LiftFund small business finance organization, and others meant to move beyond the academic and technical analysis typical of Fed conferences.

The aim is to “feature panels of community leaders who will share their perspectives on the labor market and the effects of interest rates on their constituencies,” the Fed said in a press released.

Other events are being held around the country over the year, organized by regional Federal Reserve banks.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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