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Whatever Happened to Goldilocks? The Role of Expectations in Estimates of the NAIRU in the US and the UK


  • Rebecca L. Driver
  • Jennifer V. Greenslade
  • Richard G. Pierse


During the second half of the 1990s the US economy was characterized as the Goldilocks economy: not too hot, nor too cold, but just right. It was argued that this represented a new paradigm, enabling unemployment to remain low without igniting inflationary pressure. We examine the evidence for a change in the relationship between inflation and unemployment for the US and UK using Phillips curve models. The impact of including explicit inflation expectations is also considered. Inflation expectations are found to play an important role, particularly in the US. When expectations are included there is still evidence that the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) steadily declined during the late 1990s, although this decline in the US NAIRU is not found solely in the 1990s. Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca L. Driver & Jennifer V. Greenslade & Richard G. Pierse, 2006. "Whatever Happened to Goldilocks? The Role of Expectations in Estimates of the NAIRU in the US and the UK," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(1), pages 45-79, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:68:y:2006:i:1:p:45-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 209-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    3. Jennifer V Greenslade & Richard G Pierse & Jumana Saleheen, 2003. "A Kalman filter approach to estimating the UK NAIRU," Bank of England working papers 179, Bank of England.
    4. Vincenzo Cassino & Richard Thornton, 2002. "Do changes in structural factors explain movements in the equilibrium rate of unemployment?," Bank of England working papers 153, Bank of England.
    5. Rebecca L Driver & Jennifer V Greenslade & Richard G Pierse, 2003. "The role of expectations in estimates of the NAIRU in the United States and the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 180, Bank of England.
    6. Flint Brayton & John M. Roberts & John C. Williams, 1999. "What's happened to the Phillips curve?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. De la Serve, M-E. & Lemoine, M., 2011. "Measuring the NAIRU: a complementary approach," Working papers 342, Banque de France.

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