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Inflation persistence: how much can we explain?

  • Pau Rabanal
  • Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez

Until recently most macroeconomic models in which monetary policy has real effects were based on the assumption that agents in the economy do not use all available information when making a decision. Critics of these models argue that this assumption implies that agents are not rational. ; In response to this criticism, a class of New Keynesian models has recently been proposed. These models combine "old" Keynesian elements with an environment in which agents form their expectations rationally. The simplest version of such models includes only one type of nominal rigidity, either sticky prices or sticky wages-that is, prices or wages that adjust only slowly to market shortages or surpluses. But these simple models have a drawback: They do not seem to be able to reproduce the persistence of inflation observed in the data. ; This article explores whether adding sticky wages to the baseline sticky-price model solves the persistence-of-inflation problem when plausible durations of price and wage contracts are assumed. ; The analysis confirms that the baseline sticky-price model cannot replicate the observed inflation persistence unless an implausible degree of either price stickiness or exogenous nominal interest rate persistence is assumed. The findings also show that a model with both sticky prices and sticky wages can replicate more closely the autocorrelation function of inflation, even with acceptable levels of both price and wage stickiness.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Q2 ()
Pages: 43-55

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2003:i:q2:p:43-55:n:v.88no.2
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  1. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1996. "Sticky Price Models of the Business Cycle: Can the Contract Multiplier Solve the Persistence Problem?," NBER Working Papers 5809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1992. "Liquidity Effects and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 3974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  4. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy, 2004. "Price Flexibility in Channels of Distribution: Evidence from Scanner Data," Macroeconomics 0402018, EconWPA.
  7. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Moore, George R, 1995. "Forward-Looking Behavior and the Stability of a Conventional Monetary Policy Rule," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1060-70, November.
  8. Rabanal, Pau & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2005. "Comparing New Keynesian models of the business cycle: A Bayesian approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1151-1166, September.
  9. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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