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Is the NAIRU more useful in forecasting inflation than the natural rate of unemployment?

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  • Victor Claar

Abstract

Recent studies have indicated that the terms 'NAIRU' (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) and 'natural rate of unemployment' are not interchangeable. While NAIRU is an empirical macroeconomic relationship estimated via a Phillips curve, the natural rate is an equilibrium condition in the labour market, reflecting the market's microeconomic features. This study evaluates comparatively the inflation-forecasting power of alternative time-varying estimates of the natural rate of unemployment relative to the NAIRU. The natural rate of unemployment in the USA since the Second World War is estimated. Three alternative methods are utilized: the Kalman filter, a structural determinants approach, and the Hodrick-Prescott filter. The section that follows assesses how each estimator of the natural rate compares with the others - as well as with the NAIRU derived from a Phillips curve - in forecasting inflationary changes in the USA in the second half of the twentieth century. The analysis reveals that the overall inflation-forecasting utility of the natural rate of unemployment relative to the NAIRU is not very different. Moreover, the conclusion appears to be quite robust to various estimators of the natural rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Claar, 2006. "Is the NAIRU more useful in forecasting inflation than the natural rate of unemployment?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(18), pages 2179-2189.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:18:p:2179-2189
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840600701061
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    Cited by:

    1. Sven Schreiber, 2012. "Estimating the natural rate of unemployment in euro-area countries with co-integrated systems," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(10), pages 1315-1335, April.
    2. Bozani, Vasiliki & Drydakis, Nick, 2011. "Studying the NAIRU and its Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 6079, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Balvers, Ronald J. & Mitchell, Douglas W., 2007. "Reducing the dimensionality of linear quadratic control problems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 141-159, January.
    4. Sandeep Mazumder, 2014. "The Impact of Educational Attainment and Gender on the Inflation-Unemployment Tradeoff," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 651-662.
    5. Wolfgang Pollan, 2013. "US Inflation and Crude Oil Prices. An International Perspective," WIFO Working Papers 451, WIFO.
    6. Díaz, Antonio & Jareño, Francisco, 2009. "Explanatory factors of the inflation news impact on stock returns by sector: The Spanish case," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 349-368, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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