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Inflation/unemployment regimes and the instability of the Phillips curve

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  • P. Ormerod
  • B. Rosewell
  • P. Phelps

Abstract

Using the statistical technique of fuzzy clustering, regimes of inflation and unemployment are explored for the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany between 1871 and 2009. We identify for each country three distinct regimes in inflation/unemployment space. Similarities exist across countries in both the regimes and the timings of the transitions between regimes. However, the typical rates of inflation and unemployment experienced in the regimes are substantially different. Further, even within a given regime, the results from the cluster analysis reveal persistent fluctuations in the degree of attachment to that regime of inflation/unemployment observations over time. The economic implications of this are that, first, the inflation/unemployment relationship or Phillips curve experiences from time to time major shifts. Second, that it is also inherently unstable even in the short run. It is likely that the factors which govern the inflation/unemployment trade-off are so multi-dimensional that it is hard to identify periods of short-run Phillips curves which can be assigned to particular historical periods with any degree of accuracy or predictability. The analysis shows that reliance on a trade-off between inflation and unemployment for policy purposes is misplaced even in the short run.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Ormerod & B. Rosewell & P. Phelps, 2013. "Inflation/unemployment regimes and the instability of the Phillips curve," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(12), pages 1519-1531, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:45:y:2013:i:12:p:1519-1531
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2011.628299
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00036846.2011.628299
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dora M Iakova, 2007. "Flattening of the Phillips Curve; Implications for Monetary Policy," IMF Working Papers 07/76, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Putnam, Bluford H. & Azzarello, Samantha, 2015. "Evolving dynamics of the relationship between US core inflation and unemployment," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 27-34.
    2. Schleer, Frauke & Kappler, Marcus, 2014. "The Phillips Curve: (In)stability, the role of credit, and implications for potential output measurement," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-067, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C19 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Other
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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