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The optimal neglect of inflation: An alternative interpretation of UK monetary policy during the "Great Moderation"


  • Boinet, Virginie
  • Martin, Christopher


This paper argues that UK monetary policymakers did not respond to the inflation rate during most of the "Great Moderation" that ran from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. We derive a generalisation of the New Keynesian Phillips curve in which inflation is a non-linear function of the output gap and show that the optimal response of the policy rule to inflation depends on the slope of the Phillips curve; if this is flat, manipulation of aggregate demand through monetary policy does not affect inflation and so policymakers cannot affect inflation. We estimate the monetary policy rules implied by a variety of alternative Phillips curves; our preferred model is based on a Phillips curve that is flat when output is close to equilibrium. We find that policy rates do not respond to inflation when the output gap is small, a situation that characterised most of the "Great Moderation" period.

Suggested Citation

  • Boinet, Virginie & Martin, Christopher, 2010. "The optimal neglect of inflation: An alternative interpretation of UK monetary policy during the "Great Moderation"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 982-992, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:982-992

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    19. Boinet, Virginie & Martin, Christopher, 2008. "The perverse response of interest rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 418-420, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valadkhani, Abbas, 2014. "Switching impacts of the output gap on inflation: Evidence from Canada, the UK and the US," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 270-285.
    2. Abbas Valadkhani, 2015. "Asymmetric size-dependent effects of the output gap on inflation: US evidence from the last half a century," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(33), pages 3525-3539, July.


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