The Central Bankers: Administrative Legitimacy and the Federal Reserve System
Mitchell, Joseph Pershing
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In this dissertation, I study the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve System. Administrative legitimacy, I argue, is an evaluative (or subjective) concept consisting of two beliefs: first, administrative institutions have a right to govern; second, they are an appropriate way to handle public tasks. After discussing scholarship on legitimacy, I examine the Federal Reserve System, asking two questions about it. First, how have its officials attempted to legitimate both their institution and their actions over time? Second, how have elected officials, scholars, and political activists attempted to (de)legitimate the Fed and its officialsâ actions? While answering my research questions, I tell a story about which strategies the institutionâ s supporters have used to legitimate the Fed and which strategies the institutionâ s opponents have used to delegitimate it. To do so, I examine two things: the public argument about the Fedâ s administrative legitimacy from 1970 to 1995; the Fedâ s interactions with its environment, those with direct implications for its legitimacy, during this time.
- Doctoral Dissertations