Professor Desmond King on "American Oligarchy? The Concealed Politics of the Federal Reserve Bank"

Professor Desmond King has coedited, with Lawrence R. Jacobs, a symposium on American Oligarchy? The Concealed Politics of the Federal Reserve Bank in the new issue of the American Political Science Association journal PS: Political Science & Politics.

Contributors include Christopher Adolph, Sarah Binder Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Jonas Pontusson, and Rick Valelly.

King and Jacobs have also cowritten an article on The Fed’s Political Economy.


Why study the Federal Reserve Bank? Political scientists analyzing US politics, with only a few notable exceptions, have largely ignored the question. The result is that we know precious little about the Fed even as it becomes an increasingly consequential feature of contemporary American politics amid rising economic inequality. This symposium is innovative in two respects. First, it treats the Fed as a political institution instead of adopting the common assumption among many of its observers that the central bank is a neutral technocracy. Second, this symposium introduces the study of power and political economy to the analysis of the Fed. The core of the symposium consists of three articles by authors of recent books on the Fed and central banks—Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond King, Sarah Binder and Mark Spindel, and Christopher Adolph. The articles develop unique approaches to studying the Fed and to articulating its importance for US politics. These articles are the subject of three probing commentaries from distinct perspectives: Jonas Pontusson situates the Fed and its political economy within comparative politics; Rick Valelly applies his expertise in American political development; and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez reveals the centrality of power to the Fed’s operations.

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    PS: Political Science and Politics, October 2018, Volume 51, Number 4
Publishers Website
Professor Desmond King is Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government, Professorial Fellow Nuffield College, Director of Graduate Studies (Politics), Emeritus Fellow St John’s College