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Do "Shortages" Cause Inflation?

In: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy

  • Owen Lamont

I count the number of times per month that the word `shortage' appears on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for the period 1969-1994. Using this as a general measure of shortages in the US economy, I test whether shortages help predict inflation. Using a variety of different specifications, I find that this time-series measure of shortages strongly predicts inflation, and contains information not captured by commodity prices, monetary aggregates, interest rates, and other proposed predictors of inflation. This suggests that disequilibrium was an important part of the adjustment of prices to macroeconomic shocks during this period.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1, 07.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 8887.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8887
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    1. Ball, L. & Mankiw, G.H., 1992. "Relative-Price Change as Aggregate Supply Shocks," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1609, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1989. "Assessing the Federal Reserve's Measures of Capacity and Utilization," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 181-242.
    3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 4089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Fama, Eugene F., 1990. "Term-structure forecasts of interest rates, inflation and real returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-76, January.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, 07.
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    8. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5h07k8vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    9. Debelle, Guy & Lamont, Owen, 1997. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: Evidence from U.S. Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 132-52, February.
    10. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "A Sticky-Price Manifesto," NBER Working Papers 4677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1989. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," NBER Working Papers 3126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
    13. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
    14. Alan S. Blinder, 1991. "Why are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," NBER Working Papers 3646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Stanley Fischer, 1981. "Relative Shocks, Relative Price Variability, and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 381-442.
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