Fiscal Policy Hasn’t Been In Vogue Since 1953

The Other Fiscal Cliff Resides In a Chart

While running some queries on Google’s Ngram Viewer, a phrase-usage graphing tool searching over 5.2 million books in Google’s digital library, I came across a rather startling trend. When comparing the use of the terms “monetary policy” and “fiscal policy” I discovered that discussion of fiscal policy in the literature has been falling since about 1953, while the discussion of monetary policy has been rising substantially (see chart below). The last time fiscal policy was a substantial topic in literature was during WWII and it has been falling dramatically since the end of the Cold War in 1989. Coincidence or design? What has caused this shift? Is it a cause or symptom of our current high dependence on monetary policy?

Dr. Holly A. Bell is an Associate Professor teaching business and economics at the Mat-Su College of the University of Alaska Anchorage in Palmer, Alaska. You can visit her website at or follow her on Twitter at @HollyBell8

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Fiscal policy image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

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