IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Uncertainty Over Models and Data: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation


An economic agent who is uncertain of her model updates her beliefs in response to the data. The updating is sensitive to measurement error which, in many cases of macroeconomic interest, is apparent from the process of data revision. I make this point through simple illustrations and then analyze a recent model of the Federal Reserve's role in U.S. inflation. The existing model succeeds at fitting inflation to optimal policy, but fails to link inflation to the economic trade-off at the heart of the story. I modify the model to account for data uncertainty and find that doing so ameliorates the existing problems. This suggests that the Fed's model uncertainty is largely overestimated by ignoring data uncertainty. Consequently, now there is an explanation for the rise and fall in inflation: the concurrent rise and fall in the perceived Philips curve trade-off.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): (03)
Pages: 341-365

in new window

Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i::p:341-365
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Graham Elliott & Allan Timmermann & Ivana Komunjer, 2005. "Estimation and Testing of Forecast Rationality under Flexible Loss," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1107-1125.
  2. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Boivin, Jean, 2006. "Has U.S. Monetary Policy Changed? Evidence from Drifting Coefficients and Real-Time Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 1149-1173, August.
  5. Stark, Tom & Croushore, Dean, 2002. "Forecasting with a real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 507-531, December.
  6. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  7. Michael T. Owyang & Garey Ramey, 2003. "Regime switching and monetary policy measurement," Working Papers 2001-002, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy with imperfect knowledge," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Eric Ghysels & Norman R. Swanson & Myles Callan, 2002. "Monetary Policy Rules with Model and Data Uncertainty," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 239-265, October.
  10. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  11. Alastair Cunningham & Chris Jeffery & George Kapetanios & Vincent Labhard, 2007. "A State Space Approach To The Policymaker's Data Uncertainty Problem," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 168, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  12. Carboni, Giacomo & Ellison, Martin, 2007. "Learning and the Great Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6250, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Howrey, E Philip, 1978. "The Use of Preliminary Data in Econometric Forecasting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 193-200, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i::p:341-365. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.