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Inflation Dynamics and the Great Recession

Listed author(s):
  • Laurence Ball
  • Sandeep Mazumder

This paper examines inflation dynamics in the United States since 1960, with a particular focus on the Great Recession. A puzzle emerges when Phillips curves estimated over 1960-2007 are used to predict inflation over 2008-2010: inflation should have fallen by more than it did. We resolve this puzzle with two modifications of the Phillips curve, both suggested by theories of costly price adjustment: we measure core inflation with the median CPI inflation rate, and we allow the slope of the Phillips curve to change with the level and variance of inflation. We then examine the hypothesis of anchored inflation expectations. We find that expectations have been fully "shock-anchored" since the 1980s, while "level anchoring" has been gradual and partial, but significant. It is not clear whether expectations are sufficiently anchored to prevent deflation over the next few years. Finally, we show that the Great Recession provides fresh evidence against the New Keynesian Phillips curve with rational expectations.

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File URL: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Programs/ES/BPEA/2011_spring_bpea_papers/2011a_bpea_ball.pdf
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Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring) ()
Pages: 337-405

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Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:42:y:2011:i:2011-01:p:337-405
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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
  2. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
  3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
  4. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer, 1988. "The New Keynsesian Economics and the Output-Inflation Trade-off," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 1-82.
  5. Emmanuel De Veirman, 2009. "What Makes the Output-Inflation Trade-Off Change? The Absence of Accelerating Deflation in Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1117-1140, 09.
  6. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2010. "The new Keynesian Phillips curve and the cyclicality of marginal cost," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 747-765, September.
  7. Smith, Julie K, 2004. "Weighted Median Inflation: Is This Core Inflation?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 253-263, April.
  8. DeFina, Robert H, 1991. "International Evidence on a New Keynesian Theory of the Output-Inflation Trade-Off," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 410-422, August.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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