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Fairness and Inflation Persistence

  • John C. Driscoll

    (Federal Reserve Board,)

  • Steinar Holden

    (University of Oslo and Norges Bank,)

We argue that peoples' concern for fairness may explain an unsolved puzzle in macroeconomics: the persistence of inflation. We extend a 1990 wage-contracting model of Bhaskar in which workers' disutility from being paid less than other workers exceeds their utility from being paid more. This model generates a continuum of equilibria over a range of wages and unemployment rates. If workers' expectations are based on the past behavior of wage growth, these beliefs will be self-fulfilling, generating inflation persistence within, but not outside of, this range. Based on quarterly U.S. data over the period 1955-2000, we find evidence that inflation is more persistent between unemployment rates of 4.7 and 6.5% than outside these bounds. (JEL: E31, E3, E5) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
Pages: 240-251

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:2-3:p:240-251
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