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An overhaul of doctrine: the underpinning of U.K. inflation targeting

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  • Edward Nelson

Abstract

This paper argues that the inflation targeting regime prevailing in the United Kingdom is not the result of a change in policymaker objectives. By conducting an analysis of U.K. policymakers that parallels Romer and Romer’s (2004) study of Federal Reserve Chairmen, I demonstrate that policymaker objectives have been essentially unchanged over the past five decades. Instead, the crucial underpinning of U.K. inflation targeting has been an overhaul of doctrine—a changed view of the transmission mechanism. This overhaul can be understood in terms of changes in policymakers’ views on the values of a few key parameters in their specifications of the economy’s IS and Phillips curves. Specifically, the changed views pertain to the issues of whether interest rates enter the IS equation, and the extent of policymaker influence on those rates; whether the level of the output gap appears in the Phillips curve when the gap is negative; and whether a speed-limit term matters for inflation dynamics. Contrary to conventional wisdom, changing views on the expected-inflation term in the Phillips curve do not play a role.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2007-026.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-026

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Keywords: Inflation (Finance) - Great Britain ; Monetary policy - Great Britain;

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  1. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Laidler, David, 1989. "Dow and Saville's Critique of Monetary Policy--A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1147-59, September.
  3. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History," NBER Working Papers 10161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  5. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-75, April.
  6. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal To Replace The New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328, November.
  7. Mervyn King, 1996. "How should central banks reduce inflation? conceptual issues," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 53-91.
  8. Charles Bean, 2005. "Monetary Policy in an Uncertain World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(1), pages 31-53, January.
  9. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2002. "The Evolution of Economic Understanding and Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 9274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Luca Benati & Paolo Surico, 2009. "VAR Analysis and the Great Moderation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  12. Edward Nelson & Kalin Nikolov, 2002. "Monetary policy and stagflation in the UK," Bank of England working papers 155, Bank of England.
  13. Nelson, Edward, 2001. "What Does the UK's Monetary Policy and Inflation Experience Tell Us About the Transmission Mechanism?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Edward Nelson, 2004. "The Great Inflation of the seventies: what really happened?," Working Papers 2004-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  15. Luca Benati, 2008. "The "Great Moderation" in the United Kingdom," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 121-147, 02.
  16. Luca Benati, 2003. "Evolving Post-World War II U.K. Economic Performance," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 171, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Robert Leeson, 1999. "Keynes and the “Keynesian” Phillips Curve," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 493-509, Fall.
  20. Mervyn King, 1999. "Challenges for monetary policy : new and old," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-57.
  21. John C. B. Cooper, 2004. "Dollarisation in Theory and Practice," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(4), pages 79-89, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Cover, James P. & Mallick, Sushanta K., 2012. "Identifying sources of macroeconomic and exchange rate fluctuations in the UK," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1627-1648.
  2. Meenagh, David & Minford, Patrick & Nowell, Eric & Sofat, Prakriti & Srinivasan, Naveen, 2008. "Can the Facts of UK Inflation Persistence be Explained by Nominal Rigidity?," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2008/7, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Apr 2010.

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