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Procyclical prices: a demi-myth?


  • Holger C. Wolf


This paper critically reevaluates recent claims that the postwar U.S. price level exhibits countercyclicality. While overall countercyclicality is confirmed, temporal disaggregation suggests a shift from pro- to countercyclicality in the early 1970s. Furthermore, the countercyclicality is markedly more pronounced for negative than for positive output innovations. The evidence thus casts doubt on single-source business cycle explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Holger C. Wolf, 1991. "Procyclical prices: a demi-myth?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 25-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1991:i:spr:p:25-28:n:v.15no.2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Response to a skeptic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 28-33.
    2. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1990. "Business cycles: real facts and a monetary myth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-18.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pakko, Michael R, 2000. "The Cyclical Relationship between Output and Prices: An Analysis in the Frequency Domain," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 382-399, August.
    2. William T. Gavin & Finn E. Kydland, 2000. "The nominal facts and the October 1979 policy change," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 39-61.
    3. James Peery Cover & C. James Hueng, 2006. "Why Did the Sign of the Price-Output Correlation Change? Evidence from a Structural VAR with GARCH Errors," Working Papers 200602, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2006.
    4. Ravn, Morten O. & Sola, Martin, 1995. "Stylized facts and regime changes: Are prices procyclical?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 497-526, December.
    5. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Gallegati, Marco & Gallegati, Mauro, 2005. "On the nature and causes of business fluctuations in Italy, 1861-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 81-100, January.
    6. David Smant, 1996. "Re-examining the cyclical behaviour of prices and output," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 132(4), pages 651-674, December.
    7. Brock, William A. & Haslag, Joseph H., 2016. "A tale of two correlations: Evidence and theory regarding the phase shift between the price level and output," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 40-57.

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    Prices ; Business cycles;


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