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The great inflation of the 1970s

  • Fabrice Collard
  • Harris Dellas

Was the high inflation of the 1970s mostly due to incomplete information about the structure of the economy (an unavoidable mistake as suggested by Orphanides, 2000)? Or, to weak reaction to expected inflation and/or excessive policy activism that led to indeterminacies (a policy mistake, a scenario suggested by Clarida, Gali and Gertler, 2000)? We study this question within the NNS model with policy commitment and imperfect information, requiring that the model have satisfactory overall empirical performance. We find that both explanations do a good job in accounting for the great inflation. Even with the commonly used specification of the interest policy rule, high and persistent inflation can occur following a significant productivity slowdown if policymakers significantly and persistently underestimate ”core” inflation. JEL Classification: E32, E52

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Volume (Year): (2003)
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgpr:y:2003:x:1
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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  4. Kevin J. Lansing, 2000. "Learning about a shift in trend output: implications for monetary policy and inflation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. James Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation Occur Despite Policymaker Commitment to a Taylor Rule?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 129, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-75, April.
  7. Christopher J. Erceg and Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Imperfect Credibility and Inflation Persistence," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 19, Society for Computational Economics.
  8. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ehrmann, Michael & Smets, Frank, 2001. "Uncertain potential output: implications for monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0059, European Central Bank.
  10. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Stagflation in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
  12. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2000. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Working Paper Series 0015, European Central Bank.
  13. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 2005. "Endogenous monetary policy with unobserved potential output," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1951-1983, November.
  14. Svensson, Lars & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy," Seminar Papers 688, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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