The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve

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Sarah Binder and Mark Spindel challenge the widely accepted myth of Federal Reserve independence. Analyzing a century of Congressional efforts to revamp the powers and governance of the Fed, Binder and Spindel deploy historical and contemporary evidence to pinpoint the interdependence of these two powerful policy-making institutions. Placing the Fed within the broader political system changes our understanding of the nature and primacy of central bank independence.

Sarah Binder is professor of political science at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Congress and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mark Spindel is founder and chief investment officer at Potomac River Capital, a Washington-based investment firm specializing in the intersection of macro-economics, central bank policy and capital markets. Prior to launching Potomac River, Spindel spent nearly a decade at the World Bank where, as Deputy Treasurer, he managed the reserves of the International Finance Corporation.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

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