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Monetarist Theory


The Monetarist Theory is an economic concept that asserts that the management of a country’s money supply is the key to controlling inflation and promoting stable economic growth. It suggests that variations in the money supply have significant impacts on price levels and economic activity. Developed by economist Milton Friedman, this theory opposes Keynesian economics and emphasizes the role of monetary policy over fiscal policy.


The phonetic pronunciation for “Monetarist Theory” would be: moh-nuh-tah-rist thee-uh-ree.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Economic Stability: Monetarist Theory asserts that fiscal stability can be achieved through careful control of the money supply. Monetarists believe that managing inflation and maintaining a steady, moderate growth in monetary supply are the main tasks of a central bank.
  2. Price Theory: According to monetarists, inflation or deflation is directly related to the money supply. An abundance of money results in inflation, while a shortage leads to deflation. Therefore, central banks should strive to control inflation and deflation by managing the money supply.
  3. Interest Rates: Monetarist Theory also emphasizes the significant role of interest rates in an economy. Monetarists state that low interest rates encourage economic growth by stimulating borrowing, thus increasing the money supply. High interest rates have the opposite effect, dissuading borrowing and lowering the money supply.



The Monetarist Theory is important in the field of business and finance because it provides an economic framework that emphasizes the critical role of monetary policy in controlling inflation and stabilizing the economy. Developed by economist Milton Friedman, this theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on national output in the short run and on price levels over longer periods. In essence, it suggests that controlling the money supply can influence economic health and business cycles. This theory serves as a guide for central banks in making decisions about interest rates and money supply, ultimately shaping firms’ investment decisions, consumers’ spending habits, as well as the overall economic well-being.


The monetarist theory is primarily used to explain and manage the effects of the supply of money on the economy. According to the theory, the key to managing economic stability lies in the management of monetary supply. Monetarists generally view the business cycle, inflation, and deflation as tightly connected to changes in the money supply. Thus, they propose that by controlling the fluctuation of the money supply, governments and their central banks can manage these economic issues and achieve desired economic outcomes.Indeed, the central focus of monetarist theory is on the need to control inflation by controlling the supply of money. The idea is that by managing the supply of money (either restricting it during periods of inflation or expanding it during periods of slow economic growth), policy makers can stabilize prices and ward off things like hyperinflation or economic recession. Therefore, this theory is extensively applied in monetary policy formulation within a government and by central banks. It’s also used as a tool for economic forecasting.


1. Federal Reserve’s response to the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis: The Federal Reserve during the great recession implemented aggressively expansionary monetary policy by slashing interest rates to near zero and purchasing long-term assets to push down long-term interest rates – actions that are aligned with the monetarist belief that managing the money supply is key in regulating the economy. 2. The Paul Volcker era: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as US was experiencing high inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker enacted monetarist policies to fight inflation by restraining the growth of money supply. He dramatically tightened monetary policy, leading to a short-term recession, but ultimately succeeded in breaking the inflation cycle and laying the foundation for a long period of economic growth and stability.3. United Kingdom under Margaret Thatcher: In the 1980s, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher applied monetarist theory in the UK by reducing public spending and using control over the money supply to combat inflation. The result was initially a recession, but later led to years of economic growth. The policies Thatcher employed were based on the belief—central to monetarist theory—that inflation is caused by too much money chasing too few goods.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Monetarist Theory?

The Monetarist Theory is a fundamental concept in economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling inflation by manipulating the supply of money. It contends that changes in the money supply are the most significant determinants of the rate of economic growth and the behavior of the business cycle.

Who are the main proponents of Monetarist Theory?

The most known proponent of the Monetarist Theory is economist Milton Friedman. He, along with Anna Schwartz, wrote A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 where they effectively showcased their belief in Monetarism.

How does Monetarist Theory differ from Keynesian economics?

While Keynesian economics suggests that government intervention is necessary to stabilize the economy, Monetarist Theory proposes that markets are more efficient in regulating themselves. Monetarists believe that controlling the money supply – rather than influencing demand through fiscal policy – will lead to economic stability.

How can a government apply Monetarist Theory?

Governments can apply Monetarist Theory by using monetary policy tools, such as open market operations, changing reserve requirements, and altering the discount rate to influence the money supply and, thus, control inflation.

Does Monetarist Theory address unemployment?

While Monetarist Theory primarily focuses on inflation and economic stability, it indirectly addresses unemployment. By controlling inflation, it hopes to create a stable economic environment conducive to low levels of unemployment.

What are the criticisms of Monetarist Theory?

Critics argue that Monetarist Theory may oversimplify the relationship between the money supply, inflation, and economic growth. They claim there are other significant factors, such as investor confidence, market stability, and political events, which also need to be taken into account.

Can Monetarist Theory be applied on a global scale?

Yes, Monetarist Theory can be applied globally. Central banks worldwide use this theory to guide their monetary policy decisions. However, its effectiveness can vary depending on the specificities of each country’s economy.

How does Monetarist Theory impact businesses?

Monetary policies based on the Monetarist Theory can affect business operations by influencing economic factors such as interest rates, inflation, and economic growth. These can impact businesses’ financing costs, pricing strategies, and overall profitability.

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