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Escaping Nash and Volatile Inflation

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  • Ellison, Martin
  • Yates, Tony

Abstract

Why is inflation so much lower and at the same time more stable in developed economies in the 1990s, compared with the 1970s? This paper suggests that the United Kingdom, United States and other countries may have escaped from a volatile inflation equilibrium. Our argument builds on the story proposed by Tom Sargent in The conquest of American inflation, where the fall in inflation in the 1980s was attributed to the changing beliefs informing monetary policy. To explain the escape in inflation volatility, we unwind one of Sargent's simplifications and allow the monetary authority to react to some of the shocks in the economy. In this new model, a revised account of recent history is that when the evidence turned against the existence of a long-run inflation-output trade-off in the 1980s there was an escape from high inflation, but the authorities were also persuaded to stop using changes in inflation to offset shocks. Inflation and inflation volatility therefore escaped in tandem. Our analysis also sheds some light on why the escape in inflation occurred at the time it did. Our model, like the Sargent model it derives from, omits the revolution in institutional design and understanding that underpins monetary policy. So the gloomy predictions for the future derived from a literal reading of it are likely to be unfounded.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6483.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6483

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Keywords: beliefs; escapes; Phillips curve; volatility;

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References

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  1. Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  2. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2000. "Inflation Forecast Uncertainty," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 384, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 09 Oct 2000.
  3. Reis Ricardo, 2003. "Where Is the Natural Rate? Rational Policy Mistakes and Persistent Deviations of Inflation from Target," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, September.
  4. Timothy Cogley & Riccardo Colacito & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Benefits from U.S. monetary policy experimentation in the days of Samuelson and Solow and Lucas," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1993. "Bayesian economists ... Bayesian agents : An alternative approach to optimal learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 355-383, May.
  6. Bruce McGough, 2003. "Shocking Escapes," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 294, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-90, February.
  8. Gerali, Andrea & Lippi, Francesco, 2001. "On the 'Conquest' of Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3101, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. William Poole, 2002. "Flation," Speech 49, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "The conquest of US inflation: Learning and robustness to model uncertainty," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 528-563, April.
  11. In-Koo Cho & Noah Williams & Thomas J. Sargent, 2002. "Escaping Nash Inflation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-40.
  12. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2008. "Expectations, Learning, And Monetary Policy: An Overview Of Recent Research," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 501, Central Bank of Chile.
  2. Mitra, Kaushik & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2013. "Policy change and learning in the RBC model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1947-1971.
  3. Rhys Bidder & Kalin Nikolov & Tony Yates, . " Self-confirming Inflation Persistence," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0908, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  4. Kolyuzhnov, Dmitri & Bogomolova, Anna & Slobodyan, Sergey, 2014. "Escape dynamics: A continuous-time approximation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 161-183.

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