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Inflation expectations and the evolution of U. S. inflation

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  • Jeffrey C. Fuhrer

Abstract

Much recent commentary has centered on the importance of well-anchored inflation expectations serving as the foundation of a well-behaved inflation rate. But the difficulty in relying on this principle is that inflation expectations are not directly observable, and thus it is hard to know whether expectations truly play such an anchoring role in the evolution of inflation. In the current circumstances this question is of much more than academic interest, as widely used measures suggest the coincidence of a large unemployment gap and muted production costs with fairly stable long-run inflation expectations. While a high unemployment rate would tend to depress inflation, lower production costs may serve as a counterweight to downward pressure. Which effect will prevail? This brief examines the role of expectations and anchoring by employing expectations proxies derived from surveys of professional forecasters. The brief concludes that there is some evidence that stable long-run expectations have an indirect anchoring effect on inflation, but that to date the effect on resource slack remains considerable.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal Public Policy Brief.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): ()
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpb:y:2011:n:11-4

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Keywords: Inflation (Finance);

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  1. Klaus Adam & Mario Padula, 2002. "Inflation Dynamics and Subjective Expectations in the United States," CSEF Working Papers 78, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 02 Jun 2009.
  2. Ricardo Nunes, 2010. "Inflation Dynamics: The Role of Expectations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(6), pages 1161-1172, 09.
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