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Should monetary policy target labor's share of income?

  • Jeremy Rudd
  • Karl Whelan

In recent work, Woodford (2001) presents evidence that using real unit labor costs (labor's share of income) as a driving variable in the new-Keynesian Phillips curve yields a superior fit for inflation relative to a model that uses deterministically detrended real GDP. This evidence leads him to conclude that the output gap the deviation between actual and potential output is better captured by the labor income share, in turn implying that the monetary authority should raise interest rates in response to increases in this variable. We document that the empirical case for the superiority of the labor's share version of the new-Keynesian model is actually quite weak, and conclude that there is little reason to view the labor income share as an appropriate target for monetary policy.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2002)
Issue (Month): Mar ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2002:i:mar:x:4
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-01-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "The Cyclical Behavior of Prices and Costs," NBER Working Papers 6909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King, 2006. "Pricing, Production, and Persistence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 893-928, 09.
  5. Sbordone, Argia, 1998. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Seminar Papers 653, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  6. Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2005. "New tests of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1167-1181, September.
  7. Argia M. Sbordone, 2001. "An Optimizing Model of U.S. Wage and Price Dynamics," Departmental Working Papers 200110, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  8. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The Case for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  10. Campbell, John Y & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 357-73, July.
  11. Michael Woodford, 2001. "The Taylor Rule and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 232-237, May.
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