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A critical assessment of existing estimates of US core inflation

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  • Bermingham, Colin

Abstract

Core inflation rates are widely calculated. The perceived benefit of core inflation rates is that they help to inform monetary policy. This is achieved by uncovering the underlying trend in inflation or by helping to forecast inflation. Studies which compare core inflation rates frequently assess candidate core rates on these two criteria. Using US data, the two standard tests of core inflation - the ability to track trend inflation and the ability to forecast inflation - are applied to a more comprehensive set of core inflation rates than has been the case in the literature to date. Furthermore, the tests are applied in a more rigorous fashion. A key difference in this paper is the inclusion of benchmarks to the tests, which is non-standard in the literature. Two problems with core inflation rates emerge. Firstly, it is very difficult to distinguish between different core rates according to these tests, as they tend to perform to a very similar level. Secondly, once the benchmarks are introduced to the tests, the core inflation rates fail to outperform the benchmarks. This failure suggests that core inflation rates are of less practical usefulness than previously thought.

Suggested Citation

  • Bermingham, Colin, 2010. "A critical assessment of existing estimates of US core inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 993-1007, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:993-1007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carré, Emmanuel, 2013. "La cible d’inflation de la Fed : continuité ou rupture ?," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 14.
    2. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2014. "The sacrifice ratio and core inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 400-421.
    3. Wojciech Charemza & Yuriy Kharin & Vladislav Maevskiy, 2012. "Bilinear forecast risk assessment for non-systematic inflation: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/22, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.

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    Keywords

    Core inflation Forecasting;

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