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Inflation and Unit Labor Cost

  • ROBERT G. KING
  • MARK W. WATSON

We study two decompositions of inflation, , motivated by a New Keynesian Pricing Equation. The first uses four components: lagged , expected future , real unit labor cost ( ), and a residual. The second uses two components: fundamental inflation (discounted expected future ) and a residual. We find large low-frequency differences between actual and fundamental inflation. From 1999-2011 fundamental inflation fell by more than 15 percentage points, while actual inflation changed little. We discuss this discrepancy in terms of the data (a large drop in labor's share of income) and through the lens of a canonical structural model (Smets-Wouters (2007)).

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1538-4616.2012.00555.x
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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): (December)
Pages: 111-149

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i::p:111-149
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

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  1. King, Robert G & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Money, Prices, Interest Rates and the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-53, February.
  2. Miles S. Kimball & Michael Woodford, 1994. "The quantitative analysis of the basic neomonetarist model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1241-1289.
  3. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2007. "Shocks and frictions in US business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0722, European Central Bank.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1996. "Sticky price and limited participation models of money: a comparison," Staff Report 227, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-84, November.
  6. 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.
  7. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 785, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  10. An, Sungbae & Schorfheide, Frank, 2005. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 5207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Carl E. Walsh, 2010. "Monetary Theory and Policy, Third Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262013770, December.
  12. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
  13. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  14. Kurmann, Andre, 2005. "Quantifying the uncertainty about the fit of a new Keynesian pricing model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1119-1134, September.
  15. Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D.M., 2007. "Estimating the frequency of price re-optimization in Calvo-style models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2032-2047, October.
  16. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2007. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models—Rejoinder," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 211-219.
  17. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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