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The Natural Rate Hypothesis: an idea past its sell-by date

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  • Farmer, Roger

    () (Bank of England)

Abstract

Central banks throughout the world predict inflation with New Keynesian models where, after a shock, the unemployment rate returns to its so-called ‘natural rate’. That assumption is called the Natural Rate Hypothesis (NRH). In this paper Roger Farmer reviews a body of work, published over the past decade, in which the author argues that the NRH does not hold in the data and provides an alternative paradigm that explains why it does not hold. Professor Farmer replaces the NRH with the assumption that the animal spirits of investors are a fundamental of the economy that can be modelled by a ‘belief function’. He shows how to operationalise that idea by constructing an empirical model that outperforms the New Keynesian Phillips Curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Farmer, Roger, 2013. "The Natural Rate Hypothesis: an idea past its sell-by date," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 53(3), pages 244-256.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:qbullt:0114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
    2. Mark Gertler & Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari, 2008. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1713-1764, December.
    3. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    4. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    5. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2008. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1653-1674, September.
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    7. Milton Friedman, 1971. "A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie71-1.
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    15. Mark Gertler & Antonella Trigari, 2009. "Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 38-86, February.
    16. Mortensen, Dale T, 1970. "Job Search, the Duration of Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 847-862, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 2014. "Macro coordination: Forward Guidance as ‘cheap talk’?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. David Miles, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Forward Guidance in the UK," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(S1), pages 44-59, September.
    3. Lafourcade, Pierre & Gerali, Andrea & Brůha, Jan & Bursian, Dirk & Buss, Ginters & Corbo, Vesna & Haavio, Markus & Håkanson, Christina & Hlédik, Tibor & Kátay, Gábor & Kulikov, Dmitry & Lozej, Matija , 2016. "Labour market modelling in the light of the financial crisis," Occasional Paper Series 175, European Central Bank.
    4. Rod Cross, 2014. "Unemployment: natural rate epicycles or hysteresis?," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 136-148, September.
    5. Riccardo Magnani, 2015. "The Solow Growth Model Revisited. Introducing Keynesian Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers hal-01203393, HAL.
    6. repec:aea:jecper:v:32:y:2018:i:1:p:97-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Olivier J. Blanchard, 2017. "Should we Get rid of the Natural Rate Hypothesis?," NBER Working Papers 24057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:ksp:journ1:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:79-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Olivier Blanchard, 2018. "Should We Reject the Natural Rate Hypothesis?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 97-120, Winter.
    10. Riccardo Magnani, 2015. "The Solow Growth Model Revisited. Introducing Keynesian Involuntary Unemployment," CEPN Working Papers hal-01203393, HAL.
    11. repec:mes:challe:v:58:y:2015:i:2:p:160-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Speigner, Bradley, 2014. "Long-term unemployment and convexity in the Phillips curve," Bank of England working papers 519, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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