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Escaping Volatile Inflation

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  • MARTIN ELLISON
  • TONY YATES

Abstract

Why has inflation been so stable in developed economies since the early 1990s? In this paper, we answer that the United States and other countries may have escaped from a volatile inflation equilibrium. Our argument builds on the story proposed by Tom Sargent in "The Conquest of American Inflation", where the fall in inflation in the 1980s was attributed to changing government beliefs. To explain the escape in inflation volatility, we unwind one of Sargent's simplifications and allow the government to react to some of the shocks in the economy. In this case, when government beliefs turned against the Phillips curve in the 1980s they not only led to an escape from high inflation, but also stopped government using changes in inflation to offset shocks. Inflation and inflation volatility therefore escaped in tandem. Our analysis also sheds some light on why the escape in inflation occurred at the time it did. Copyright 2007 The Ohio State University.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ellison & Tony Yates, 2007. "Escaping Volatile Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 981-993, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:39:y:2007:i:4:p:981-993
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. WilliamA. Branch & John Carlson & GeorgeW. Evans & Bruce McGough, 2009. "Monetary Policy, Endogenous Inattention and the Volatility Trade-off," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 123-157, January.
    2. In-Koo Cho & Noah Williams & Thomas J. Sargent, 2002. "Escaping Nash Inflation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-40.
    3. Phelps, Edmund S & Taylor, John B, 1977. "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 163-190, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. n/a, 2007. "Monetary Policy, Beliefs, Unemployment and Inflation; Evidence from the UK," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 305, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    2. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2009. "Expectations, Learning and Monetary Policy: An Overview of Recent Research," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.),Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning, edition 1, volume 13, chapter 2, pages 027-076, Central Bank of Chile.
    3. James B. Bullard, 2006. "The learnability criterion and monetary policy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 88(May), pages 203-217.
    4. Federico di Pace & Kaushik Mitra & Shoujian Zhang, 2014. "Adaptive Learning and Labour Market Dynamics," CDMA Working Paper Series 201408, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    5. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    6. Mitra, Kaushik & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2013. "Policy change and learning in the RBC model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1947-1971.
    7. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2011. "Learning as a Rational Foundation for Macroeconomics and Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 8340, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Caprioli, Francesco, 2015. "Optimal fiscal policy under learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 101-124.
    9. Kolyuzhnov, Dmitri & Bogomolova, Anna & Slobodyan, Sergey, 2014. "Escape dynamics: A continuous-time approximation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 161-183.
    10. Rhys Bidder & Kalin Nikolov & Tony Yates, "undated". "Self-confirming Inflation Persistence," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0908, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.

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