About Us

The Shadow Open Market Committee (SOMC) was founded in 1973 by Prof. Karl Brunner of the University of Rochester and Prof. Allan Meltzer of Carnegie-Mellon University. The SOMC remains an independent organization whose members are drawn from academic institutions and private organizations. The original objective of the SOMC was to evaluate the policy choices and actions of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Over the years the Committee has broadened its scope to cover a much wider range of issues, covering monetary, fiscal, and international trade policies as well as regulatory oversight of the financial system. The Committee’s deliberations are intended to improve policy discussions among policy makers, journalists and the general public with the hope that wiser policy decisions will result.

Since 1973, the SOMC has met on a regular basis to discuss economic policy. At each meeting Committee members present position papers on a variety of macroeconomic and public policy topics that are debated. All of these papers are collected in the interactive SOMC Archives. The views and opinions expressed by the Committee are its own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations with which the members are affiliated or the sponsoring organizations.

Professors Brunner and Meltzer founded the SOMC in 1973 in response to high inflation and the commonly-held but misguided notion that inflation was caused by an eclectic array of factors rather than the Fed’s money supply.  President Nixon’s August 1971 imposition of wage and price controls in response to high inflation, a strategy advocated by his Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors and many others as a remedy to inflation, was the basis for a paper by Meltzer that outlined the original mission of the SOMC’s formation.

“Karl Brunner and I decided to organize a group to criticize the decision and point out the error in the claim that controls could stop inflation. Our objective at the time and after was not just to complain about the results of policy actions. We wanted to show that better policy choices were available and that inflation could be controlled at acceptable cost, if the Federal Reserve controlled money growth. We hoped also to improve policy discussion.”

Over time, the SOMC’s argument that persistent inflation is a monetary phenomenon became widely accepted.  The Committee’s position papers and research by its members are influential at the Fed and other global central banks.  The SOMC continues to support transparent, rules-based guidelines for monetary policy with the aim of price stability that is the best foundation for sustained maximum economic and employment growth, and sound rules that guide and supervise banking and the financial industry.