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Should monetary policy target labor's share of income?

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  • Jeremy B. Rudd
  • Karl Whelan

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy B. Rudd & Karl Whelan, 2002. "Should monetary policy target labor's share of income?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2002:i:mar:x:4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
    2. 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.
    3. John Campbell & Angus Deaton, 1989. "Why is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 357-373.
    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, September.
    5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    6. Argia M. Sbordone, 2002. "An optimizing model of U.S. wage and price dynamics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    7. Sbordone, Argia M., 2002. "Prices and unit labor costs: a new test of price stickiness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 265-292, March.
    8. Michael Woodford, 2001. "The Taylor Rule and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 232-237, May.
    9. Rotemberg, Julio J. & Woodford, Michael, 1999. "The cyclical behavior of prices and costs," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1051-1135 Elsevier.
    10. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The Case for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-159.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maritta Paloviita, 2006. "Inflation Dynamics in the Euro Area and the Role of Expectations," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 847-860, November.
    2. Coenen, Gunter, 2007. "Inflation persistence and robust monetary policy design," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 111-140, January.
    3. Paloviita, Maritta & Mayes, David, 2005. "The use of real-time information in Phillips-curve relationships for the euro area," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 415-434, December.
    4. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2002. "Inflation dynamics and international linkages: a model of the United States, the euro area and Japan," Working Paper Series 0181, European Central Bank.
    5. Paloviita, Maritta, 2004. "Inflation dynamics in the euro area and the role of expectations : further results," Research Discussion Papers 21/2004, Bank of Finland.
    6. Maritta Paloviita, 2004. "Inflation dynamics in the euro area and the role of expectations," Macroeconomics 0405015, EconWPA.
    7. Maritta Paloviita, 2009. "Estimating open economy Phillips curves for the euro area with directly measured expectations," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 233-254.
    8. Lars Sondergaard, 2003. "Using Instrumental Variables to Estimate the Share of Backward- Looking Firms," Macroeconomics 0308009, EconWPA.

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    Keywords

    Monetary policy;

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