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Wages, Exchange Rates, and the Great Inflation Moderation: A Post-Keynesian View

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  • Nathan Perry
  • Nathaniel Cline
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    Abstract

    Several explanations of the "great inflation moderation" (1982-2006) have been put forth, the most popular being that inflation was tamed due to good monetary policy, good luck (exogenous shocks such as oil prices), or structural changes such as inventory management techniques. Drawing from Post-Keynesian and structuralist theories of inflation, this paper uses a vector autoregression with a Post-Keynesian identification strategy to show that the decline in the inflation rate and inflation volatility was due primarily to (1) wage declines and (2) falling import prices caused by international competition and exchange rate effects. The paper uses a graphical analysis, impulse response functions, and variance decompositions to support the argument that the decline in inflation has in fact been a "wage and import price moderation," brought about by declining union membership and international competition. Exchange rate effects have lowered inflation through cheaper import and oil prices, and have indirectly affected wages through strong dollar policy, which has lowered manufacturing wages due to increased competition. A "Taylor rule" differential variable was also used to test the "good policy" hypothesis. The results show that the Taylor rule differential has a smaller effect on inflation, controlling for other factors.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_759.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_759

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    Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

    Related research

    Keywords: Inflation; Taylor Rule; Post-Keynesian; Structuralist;

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    1. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    2. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. J. Bradford DeLong, 1997. "America’s Peacetime Inflation: The 1970s," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 247-280 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John T. Harvey, 1991. "A Post Keynesian View of Exchange Rate Determination," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 14(1), pages 61-71, October.
    5. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    6. Bezemer, Dirk, 2009. "No one saw this coming. Understanding financial crisis through accounting models," Research Report 09002, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    7. Arestis, Philip & Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Cipollini, Andrea, 2002. "Does Inflation Targeting Affect the Trade-Off between Output Gap and Inflation Variability?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(4), pages 528-45, Special I.
    8. Michael J. Dueker & Andreas M. Fischer, 2006. "Do inflation targeters outperform non-targeters?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 431-450.
    9. Thomas I. Palley, 2002. "Economic contradictions coming home to roost? Does the U.S. economy face a long-term aggregate demand generation problem?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 9-32, January.
    10. Satyajit Chatterjee, 2002. "The Taylor curve and the unemployment-inflation tradeoff," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q3, pages 26-33.
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