Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve

The Politics of American Monetary Policy-Making
Irwin L. Morris
Explores the power of the President and Congress over the Federal Reserve


Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve is a study of the politics of monetary policy making at the Federal Reserve—widely considered the most important and most powerful federal bureaucracy. Ostensibly, the Federal Reserve is independent of the political branches of government; however, Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve clearly demonstrates—from both a theoretical and empirical standpoint—how the preferences of members of Congress and the President impact decisionmaking at the Fed.

Current formal theories of the general policy-making process are utilized to construct an explanatory framework that identifies the mechanisms through which congressional and executive influence is exercised. The theoretical framework presented in the text also helps to explain the political dynamics of several of the most significant policy decisions of the Federal Reserve during the last half-century. In addition, this book provides a unique perspective on the manner in which Fed policymakers attempt to shield themselves from unwelcome political influence.

While the main focus of Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve is monetary policy-making, it also speaks to the political nature of policy-making in a more general sense and provides a guide for the future study of the political dynamics in a wide variety of substantive policy areas. Thus it will interest not only political scientists and economists interested in monetary policy-making specifically but also those interested in the nature of public policy-making more generally.

Irwin L. Morris is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Maryland.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . this book has much to recommend it. There is a tendency among scholars to focus on a single causal explanation of policy. Morris recognized in his research that this would be a major mistake in trying to understand monetary policy in the United States. He uses rational choice theory to make predictions about policy choice, and his empirical analyses support his theoretical models. If a student came to me wanting to study the Fed, this would be the first book I would recommend reading."
    —John Williams, University of California, Riverside, American Political Science Review, December 2002

  • "The major contribution of the book is the development of a simple game theoretic approach to modeling relations between the Congress, the president, and the Fed. . . . I recommend it highly to all students of monetary policy and public choice."
    —Henry W. Chappell, Jr., Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, Public Choice, Volume 106 (2001)

  • "Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve: The Politics of American Monetary Policy-Making is an interesting account. . . that educates its readers. . . . There is much here to stimulate a reader's imagination."
    —MaryAnne Borrelli, The Journal of Politics, August 2001

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 176pp.
  • 35 drawings, 19 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08869-0

Add to Cart
  • $28.95 U.S.