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Revision	
  to	
  “The	
  FOMC:	
  Preferences,	
  Voting,	
  and	
  Consensus,”	
  by	
  Ellen	
  E.	
  Meade,	
  published	
  in	
  Federal	
  
Reserve	
  Bank	
  of	
  St.	
  Louis	
  Review,	
  March/April	
  2005,	
  Volume	
  87,	
  Issue	
  2,	
  Part	
  1,	
  pp.	
  93-­‐101.	
  
The	
  voiced	
  disagreement	
  rates	
  shown	
  in	
  Table	
  3	
  of	
  the	
  original	
  article	
  are	
  in	
  error.	
  The	
  author	
  thanks	
  
Francisco	
  Ruge-­‐Murcia	
  and	
  Alessandro	
  Riboni	
  for	
  bringing	
  this	
  to	
  her	
  attention.	
  While	
  the	
  voiced	
  
disagreement	
  rates	
  in	
  the	
  revised	
  table	
  are	
  lower,	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  substantive	
  conclusions	
  in	
  the	
  original	
  paper	
  
remain	
  intact.	
  
As	
  shown	
  in	
  the	
  revised	
  Table	
  3	
  below,	
  19.3	
  percent	
  of	
  non-­‐voters	
  voiced	
  disagreement	
  with	
  Chairman	
  
Greenspan’s	
  interest	
  rate	
  proposal,	
  compared	
  with	
  only	
  11.8	
  percent	
  of	
  voters.	
  This	
  difference	
  in	
  
disagreement	
  rates	
  is	
  statistically	
  significant	
  at	
  the	
  1	
  percent	
  level	
  using	
  binomial	
  proportions	
  (see	
  the	
  
article	
  for	
  more	
  discussion),	
  with	
  a	
  test	
  statistic	
  of	
  3.58.	
  About	
  20	
  percent	
  of	
  non-­‐voters	
  and	
  19	
  percent	
  
of	
  voters	
  expressed	
  disagreement	
  with	
  Chairman	
  Greenspan’s	
  bias	
  proposal.	
  This	
  difference	
  in	
  
disagreement	
  rates	
  is	
  not	
  statistically	
  significant	
  (the	
  test	
  statistic	
  is	
  0.47).	
  
There	
  remains	
  a	
  striking	
  disparity	
  between	
  the	
  disagreement	
  rate	
  for	
  the	
  interest	
  rate	
  based	
  on	
  voiced	
  
preferences	
  and	
  the	
  7.5	
  percent	
  dissent	
  rate	
  in	
  the	
  official	
  vote.	
  
The	
  dataset	
  has	
  been	
  updated	
  to	
  include	
  the	
  variable	
  tilt,	
  the	
  bias	
  in	
  the	
  policy	
  directive	
  that	
  was	
  
adopted	
  by	
  the	
  FOMC	
  at	
  each	
  meeting,	
  which	
  was	
  inadvertently	
  omitted	
  in	
  the	
  original.	
  
Revised	
  Table	
  3	
  
	
   Meade

Table 3
Preferences Voiced in Round 2 and Official Votes: FOMC Meetings, 1989-97 *
Non-voters

Voters

Total

Disagreement (%)

Total

Disagreement (%)

Voiced rate

477

19.3

728

11.8

Voiced bias

376

20.3

641

19.1
7.5

Official vote (rate/bias)

mvdiss_rate

732

mvdiss_bias .
3

vdiss_rate
mvdiss_bias

vdiss_bias
28

rateupdn
bias
vdiss_bias

.

.

	
  

Table 2 to determine whether the success of
Greenspan’s proposals arose because he accurately
anticipated the group’s view or whether there
existed some internal pressure not to disagree
with him.
The answer to question 2 can be seen inTable
3, which breaks down the voiced prefer-ences
into those expressed by non-voters and those
expressed by policymakers (“voters”) who cast
an official FOMC vote: 34 percent of non-voters
voiced disagreement with Greenspan’s interest
rate proposal, as compared with only 28 percent of
voters. Using binomial proportions, it is possible
to test whether 34 percent is significantly different
from 28 percent (the alternative hypothesis) against

ing at the published votes. What explains this?It
may well be the case that when a policymaker
disagreed with Greenspan, but his disagreement
was small, then he would voice disagreementbut
not cast an official dissent. Ths would sug-gest
some “threshold” for the difference betweenthe
policymaker’s preferred interest rate and
Greenspan’s proposed setting, above which a
voting policymaker would dissent, but below
which he would not.1 Such “threshold” behavior
might reflect a belief that a large number of official
dissents would weaken the Federal Reserve asan
institution. It might also reflect a view that,since
it is the Fed Chairman who must testify in
Congress and justify monetary policy decisions,a