Professor William A. Barnett directs a program to deepen state-of-the-art advances in monetary and financial measurement and to make the resulting data available to the public. The modern literature on aggregation-theoretic monetary aggregation began with his seminal 1980 paper in the Journal of Econometrics. This site incorporates his most recent advances and supplies the results in the public interest.
Conventional money-supply measures are not adjusted to account for differences in the degree to which various assets actually serve as money. Divisia measures, named after the early 20th-century French economist, Francois Divisia, make proper adjustments and thereby offer a more accurate picture of what is really happening to the money supply. Professor Barnett has spent many years studying and refining Divisia measures of money supply, first as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Board and then as a university professor. He derived the formula for applying the Divisia measure to monetary assets, while on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. This site offers the fruits of his work in this area along with the work of other experts in monetary aggregation and index number theory.Since monetary assets began paying interest over a half century ago, Divisia measures have given better forewarning of U.S. recessions than conventional, simple-sum, money-supply measures. Inadequate availability of good quality monetary and financial data has been associated with misinformed decisions in the public and private sector for decades. Professor Barnett’s book, Getting It Wrong: How Faulty Monetary Statistics Undermine the Fed, the Financial System and the Economy, has just been published by the MIT Press and is associated with this site. The book is built upon a tradition that has become known as “the Barnett critique.” Bill also co-authored the book, Inside the Economist's Mind, with the late Paul Samuelson, America‘s first Nobel Prize Winner in Economics. That book has been translated into seven languages.
Here is a brief description of the contents of the site.
Monetary Data for the US: This database provides monetary and financial measures, rigorously founded in economic aggregation and index-number theory, and incorporates the most recent
advances in economic measurement.
- International Advances in Monetary and Financial Measurement: Divisia and Fisher-ideal monetary aggregates exist for a vast number of countries throughout the world; but only a few central banks make those data available to the public. This page provides aggregation-theoretic monetary data, made public by international central banks, along with links to the far greater number of nonpublic, international sources and associated research publications.
- Publication Opportunities: This section provides information on highly-qualified publishers, recommended for research submissions in this area.
- Library: This compilation consists of key articles and books surrounding the development of advances in monetary and financial measurement.
- Society for Economic Measurement: This section summarizes the objectives of the new Society for Economic Measurement, and links to the society's main site, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University.