Prof Perry Mehrling just nails it with this post. He says how The Jackson Hole this year was just another of those reunion of monetary policy families. It is a very tightly held family which is really difficult to break into. They have been either managing or shaping monetary policy for almost all the countries in the world.
It was a reunion as only one paper actually was based on the theme of the conference. Rest were just usual rambles. It seems most had just assembled to say hi to each family member and get family updates :
You can title your conference whatever you want, but the actual content will depend on the speaker list. The convenors of the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium apparently hoped to generate discussion about “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future”. Having read all the papers, I can report that only one of them really engages the conference title. Everyone else just talked about what was on their mind under the more general heading of “Economic Policy.”
Like any family reunion, the gathering at Jackson Hole served mainly as an opportunity to update individual member status, and to reassert filial bonds. Better than any family reunion, the convenors were able to ensure a generally harmonious event by controlling the invitation list. Crazy uncles were blessedly absent, so there was nothing to disturb the choreography.
The festivities opened and closed with remarks by genuine central bankers, the United States (Yellen) to start, with Mexico, Europe, and Japan to close, and those are the remarks that made the news. In between, the substantive papers were all generally authored by academics, discussed by policy makers, and ignored by the press.
The order of play seems to have been designed to alternate monetary economists (Goodfriend, Sims, Reis) with financial economists (Duffie, Bindseil, Stein). The only non-academic paper, perhaps tellingly, is also the only paper that actually engaged the conference title, “Evaluating Monetary Policy Operational Frameworks” by Ulrich Bindseil. (I’ll say more about this exception below.)
Also telling, the papers by the monetary economists are all essentially about models of the economy, with the occasional current factoid sprinkled in for flavor, whereas the papers by the financial economists are much more empirical, engaging with empirical and institutional reality. What is notable about the former is the specific model choice, no DSGE or monetarism among them; what is notable about the latter is the particular focus on money markets, the primary place where central banks engage the larger financial system.
I mean why just Jackson Hole? This is how it has been going on in all such meetings to discuss economic issues- G7, G20 and so on. Just get togethers of global elites.. Most economic conferences are also quite similar especially those high-end varieties. It is quite shocking when someone tells you in your first conference that who comes to conferences for ideas? It is all about networking and reunion.
It also shown how the hype and noise around Jack-Ho has also been reduced. There was a time that this conference produced so called the ideas. Some even called it Jackson Hole consensus. Now barring the attention on Fed chief speech which is also a drag, it has nothing to show.