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Poor hand or poor play? the rise and fall of inflation in the U.S


  • Francois R. Velde


Inflation in the U.S. rose in the 1970s and fell in the 1980s and 1990s. The conventional story attributes this pattern to changes in monetary policy. Policymakers made errors and learned from them. This article presents the story and existing alternatives that emphasize instead changes beyond the Fed's control. The author also reviews the recent empirical literature on the role played by changes in luck versus changes in policy and finds substantial evidence for both.

Suggested Citation

  • Francois R. Velde, 2004. "Poor hand or poor play? the rise and fall of inflation in the U.S," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 34-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2004:i:qi:p:34-51:n:v.28no.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    3. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-1428, November.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1998. "The liquidity effect and long-run neutrality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 149-194, December.
    5. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1998. "Expectation Traps and Discretion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 462-492, August.
    6. Cogley, Timothy & Morozov, Sergei & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "Bayesian fan charts for U.K. inflation: Forecasting and sources of uncertainty in an evolving monetary system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1893-1925, November.
    7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher J. Gust, 2000. "The expectations trap hypothesis," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 21-39.
    8. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    9. Cooley, Thomas F & LeRoy, Stephen F & Raymon, Neil, 1984. "Econometric Policy Evaluation: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 467-470, June.
    10. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sharon Kozicki & Peter A. Tinsley, 2005. "Perhaps the FOMC did what it said it did : an alternative interpretation of the Great Inflation," Research Working Paper RWP 05-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    2. Alex Brazier & Richard Harrison & Mervyn King & Tony Yates, 2008. "The Danger of Inflating Expectations of Macroeconomic Stability: Heuristic Switching in an Overlapping-Generations Monetary Model," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(2), pages 219-254, June.
    3. Jeffrey M. Lacker & John A. Weinberg, 2007. "Inflation and unemployment: a layperson's guide to the Phillips curve," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 201-227.
    4. Jeffrey M. Lacker & John A. Weinberg, 2006. "Inflation and unemployment : a layperson's guide to the Phillips curve. 2006 annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, pages 5-29.
    5. repec:eee:jmacro:v:54:y:2017:i:pa:p:72-89 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Inflation (Finance) ; Monetary policy;


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