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Cost-based Phillips Curve forecasts of inflation

  • Mazumder, Sandeep

It is a well-established idea that prices are a function of marginal cost, yet estimating a reliable measure of marginal cost is difficult to do. Stock and Watson (1999) use the Phillips Curve to forecast inflation for a variety of existing activity variables that researchers commonly use to proxy for marginal cost. This paper uses a similar type of approach to examine the performance of a new candidate for the activity variable, which is marginal cost measured following the theoretical methodology of Bils (1987), which we find to be simple yet powerful when implemented empirically. We then use the Phillips Curve to conduct pseudo out-of-sample inflation forecasts for the US using: output, unemployment, hours, the labor share, the capacity utilization rate, and the new measure of marginal cost. For almost all cases, forecast errors are lowest in the regressions with the new marginal cost variable, indicating that this new measure is an improvement over previous attempts to proxy for marginal cost.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 553-567

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:33:y:2011:i:4:p:553-567
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