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Inflation Expectations and the Structural Shift in Aggregate Labor-Cost Determination in the 1980s

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  • David Neumark
  • Jonathan S. Leonard

Abstract

Aggregate labor cost equations tended to overpredict labor-cost inflation in the United States in the 1980s. We consider the hypothesis that a change in the price-inflation-expectations mechanism can explain this apparent structural shift in the 1980s. We examine whether the sharp recession of the early 1980s and continued tight monetary policy throughout the decade may have led to changes in the relationship between past price inflation and expected price inflation such that distributed lags of price inflation persistently overestimated expected price inflation, and hence led to overprediction of labor-cost inflation by standard Phillips curves in this period. The evidence leads us to reject this hypothesis, and to conclude instead that there was a true structural shift in labor cost determination.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4018.

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Date of creation: Mar 1992
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Publication status: published as Neumark, David & Leonard, Jonathan S. "Inflation Expectations and the Structural Shift in Aggregate Labor-Cost Determination in the 1980s," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(4), pages 786-800, November 1993.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4018

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  1. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1971. "Inflation in Recession and Recovery," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 2(1), pages 105-166.
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  5. Turnovsky, Stephen J & Wachter, Michael L, 1972. "A Test of the "Expectations Hypothesis" Using Directly Observed Wage and Price Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(1), pages 47-54, February.
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  7. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
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  9. Mullineaux, Donald J, 1978. "On Testing for Rationality: Another Look at the Livingston Price Expectations Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 329-36, April.
  10. Caskey, John P, 1985. "Modeling the Formation of Price Expectations: A Bayesian Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 768-76, September.
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  12. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-35, September.
  13. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  14. William Fellner, 1979. "The Credibility Effect and Rational Expectations: Implications of the Gramlich Study," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 167-190.
  15. Linda A. Bell & David Neumark, 1991. "Lump-Sums, Profit Sharing, and the Labor Costs in the Union Sector," NBER Working Papers 3630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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