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Understanding UK inflation: the role of openness

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  • Ravi Balakrishnan
  • J David Lopez-Salido

Abstract

In this paper, inflation dynamics in the United Kingdom are re-examined. Standard specifications of traditional Phillips curves have tended to overpredict inflation in the recent low inflation, low unemployment era in the United States, the United Kingdom and the euro area. This has stimulated the 'New Phillips Curve' approach, which has had success for the United States and the euro area, both less open economies than the United Kingdom. The paper is divided into two parts. First, the overprediction problem is documented for the United Kingdom, and an attempt is made to solve it in a traditional Phillips curve framework by introducing external shocks (terms of trade shocks or domestically generated inflation). This does not fully solve the problem. It is argued that there is a further misspecification problem with traditional Phillips curve estimates, due to the presence of the regime changes and structural change in the UK economy. Second, 'New Phillips Curve' estimates are examined. They perform badly; real marginal cost is not significant in the baseline specification. The relationship between marginal cost and inflation disappears in the mid-1980s. When a labour share measure is used, real marginal cost becomes significant, but goodness of fit based on fundamental inflation remains poor. The 'New Phillips Curve' model is then extended to allow for open economy influences, taking into account imported intermediate goods. This is found to mitigate substantially the breakdown of the relationship between inflation and marginal cost. Fit improves, but a tendency to underpredict and then overpredict inflation remains. Finally, the open-economy measure of marginal cost is decomposed. The wage mark-up component is important and highly countercyclical. Relative price movements, of taxes relative to overall prices and of imported intermediate goods relative to wages, are found to have been a negative influence on marginal costs over the 1990s. Understanding likely future developments in these relative prices could contribute to the assessment of prospects for marginal costs and the pressures on inflation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 164.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:164

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Charlotta Groth & Jarkko Jääskelä & Paolo Surico, 2006. "Fundamental inflation uncertainty," Bank of England working papers 309, Bank of England.
  2. Christopher Martin & Michael Arghyrou & Costas Milas, 2004. "Nonlinear inflation dynamics: evidence from the UK," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 59, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  3. Florian PELGRIN & GUAY Alain & LUGER Richard, 2004. "The New Keynesian Phillips Curve: An Empirical Assessment," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 212, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Campbell Leith & Jim Malley, 2003. "Estimated Open Economy New Keynesian Phillips Curves for the G7," CESifo Working Paper Series 834, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Nihal Bayraktar, 2008. "Contracting Models of the Phillips Curve Empirical Estimates for Middle-Income Countries," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 94, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  6. Paul, Biru Paksha, 2009. "In search of the Phillips curve for India," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 479-488, September.
  7. Luca Bindelli, 2005. "Testing the New Keynesian Phillips curve: a frequency domain approach," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 69, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  8. Fabio Rumler, 2007. "Estimates of the Open Economy New Keynesian Phillips Curve for Euro Area Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 427-451, September.
  9. Kenneth F. Wallis, 2004. "Comparing Empirical Models of the Euro Economy," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 14, Econometric Society.
  10. Eickmeier, Sandra & Moll, Katharina, 2009. "The global dimension of inflation - evidence from factor-augmented Phillips curves," Working Paper Series 1011, European Central Bank.
  11. Kandil, Magda, 2005. "Money, interest, and prices: Some international evidence," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 129-147.

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