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Does the Fed Respond to Oil Price Shocks?

  • Lutz Kilian
  • Logan T. Lewis

Since Bernanke, Gertler and Watson (1997), a common view in the literature has been that systematic monetary policy responses to the inflation triggered by oil price shocks are an important source of aggregate fluctuations in the U.S. economy. We show that there is no evidence of systematic monetary policy responses to oil price shocks after 1987 and that this lack of a policy response is unlikely to be explained by reduced real wage rigidities. Prior to 1987, according to standard VAR models, the Federal Reserve was not responding to the inflation triggered by oil price shocks, as commonly presumed, but rather to the oil price shocks directly, consistent with a preemptive move by the Federal Reserve to counteract potential inflationary pressures. There are indications that this response is poorly identified, however, and there is no evidence that this policy response in the pre-1987 period caused substantial fluctuations in the Federal Funds rate or in real output. Our analysis suggests that the traditional monetary policy reaction framework explored by BGW and incorporated in subsequent DSGE models should be replaced by DSGE models that take account of the endogeneity of the real price of oil and that allow policy responses to depend on the underlying causes of oil price shocks.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 555 (09)
Pages: 1047-1072

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:555:p:1047-1072
DOI: j.1468-0297.2011.02437.x
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  1. Lutz Kilian, 2010. "Oil Price Shocks, Monetary Policy and Stagflation," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
  2. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2001. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Working Papers 8389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Pitfalls in Estimating Asymmetric Effects of Energy Price Shocks," 2009 Meeting Papers 473, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Angelini, Elena & Henry, Jérôme & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2004. "Interpolation and Backdating with A Large Information Set," CEPR Discussion Papers 4533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
  6. James D. Hamilton, 2000. "What is an Oil Shock?," NBER Working Papers 7755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kilian, Lutz & Rebucci, Alessandro & Spatafora, Nikola, 2007. "Oil Shocks and External Balances," CEPR Discussion Papers 6303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gonçalves, Sílvia & KILIAN, Lutz, 2003. "Bootstrapping Autoregressions with Conditional Heteroskedasticity of Unknown Form," Cahiers de recherche 01-2003, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  9. Kilian, Lutz & Vega, Clara, 2008. "Do Energy Prices Respond to U.S. Macroeconomic News? A Test of the Hypothesis of Predetermined Energy Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 7015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Kilian, Lutz, 2005. "The Effects of Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks on Output and Inflation: Evidence from the G7 Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5404, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Leduc, Sylvain & Sill, Keith, 2004. "A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 781-808, May.
  12. Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "How sensitive are consumer expenditures to retail energy prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 766-779, September.
  13. Marta Banbura & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2010. "Large Bayesian vector auto regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 71-92.
  14. Bodenstein, Martin & Erceg, Christopher J. & Guerrieri, Luca, 2011. "Oil shocks and external adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 168-184, March.
  15. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Herrera, Ana María & Pesavento, Elena, 2009. "Oil Price Shocks, Systematic Monetary Policy, And The “Great Moderation”," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 107-137, February.
  17. Anton Nakov & Andrea Pescatori, 2007. "Inflation-output gap trade-off with a dominant oil supplier," Working Paper 0710, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  18. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
  19. Marta Bańbura, 2008. "Large Bayesian VARs," 2008 Meeting Papers 334, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2004. "Oil and the Macroeconomy Since the 1970s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 115-134, Fall.
  21. Renee Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent, 2010. "Inflation in an Era of Relative Pirce Shocks," CAMA Working Papers 2010-38, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
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