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The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy

  • Robert J. Gordon

The NAIRU, the unemployment rate consistent with a constant rate of inflation, is estimated, in this paper, as a parameter allowed to vary over time. Value is determined in an econometric model where the inflation rate depends on its past values, demand and supply shocks. The NAIRU estimated for the GDP deflator varies over the past forty years within 5.4 to 6.5 percent; its estimated value for the most recent quarter (1996:Q2) is 5.6 percent. The NAIRU has declined in recent years in response to global competition, immigration, other factors weakening labor's bargaining position, and the rapidly declining prices of computers and other electronics.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.1.11
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 11-32

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:1:p:11-32
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.1.11
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  1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Price Expectations and the Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 342-50, June.
  2. Robert J. Gordon, 1975. "The Impact of Aggregate Demand on Prices," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(3), pages 613-670.
  3. Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
  4. Barro, Robert J, 1978. "Unanticipated Money, Output, and the Price Level in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 549-80, August.
  5. Christina D. Romer, 1996. "Inflation and the Growth Rate of Output," NBER Working Papers 5575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George L. Perry, 1970. "Changing Labor Markets and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 411-448.
  7. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert J. Gordon, 1981. "Inflation, Flexible Exchange Rates, and the Natural Rate of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert J. Gordon & Stephen R. King, 1982. "The Output Cost of Disinflation in Traditional and Vector Autoregressive Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 205-244.
  10. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "After Keynesian macroeconomics," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
  11. King, Robert G. & Watson, Mark W., 1994. "The post-war U.S. phillips curve: a revisionist econometric history," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 157-219, December.
  12. Robert J. Gordon, 1976. "The Theory of Domestic Inflation," Discussion Papers 250, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 1970. "The Recent Acceleration of Inflation and Its Lessons for the Future," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(1), pages 8-47.
  15. Charles L. Schultze, 1975. "Falling Profits, Rising Profit Margins, and the Full-Employment Profit Rate," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 449-472.
  16. Robert G. King & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1995. "Temporal instability of the unemployment-inflation relationship," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue May, pages 2-12.
  17. Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "U.S. Inflation, Labor's Share, and the Natural Rate of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521068659 is not listed on IDEAS
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