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The Phillips Curve and US Monetary Policy: What the FOMC Transcripts Tell Us

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  • Ellen E. Meade
  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

The Phillips curve framework, which includes the output gap and natural rate hypothesis, plays a central role in the canonical macroeconomic model used in analyses of monetary policy. It is now well understood that real-time data must be used to evaluate historical monetary policy. We believe that it is equally important that macroeconomic models used to evaluate historical monetary policy reflect the framework that policymakers used to formulate that policy. To that end, we use the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) transcripts to examine the role that the Phillips curve framework played in Fed policymaking from 1979 through 2003. The FOMC's transcripts allow us to trace the evolution in policymakers' discussion of the Phillips curve framework over time. Our analysis suggests that the Phillips curve was much less central to the formulation and implementation of US monetary policy than it is in models commonly used to evaluate that policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellen E. Meade & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "The Phillips Curve and US Monetary Policy: What the FOMC Transcripts Tell Us," Working Papers 2010-18, American University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2010-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Orphanides, Athanasios & van Norden, Simon, 2005. "The Reliability of Inflation Forecasts Based on Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 583-601, June.
    2. Kiley, Michael T., 2013. "Output gaps," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-18.
    3. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
    4. George A. Kahn, 2012. "The Taylor Rule and the Practice of Central Banking," Book Chapters,in: Evan F. Koenig & Robert Leeson & George A. Kahn (ed.), The Taylor Rule and the Transformation of Monetary Policy, chapter 3 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    5. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
    6. Daniel L. Thornton, 2005. "When did the FOMC begin targeting the federal funds rate? what the verbatim transcripts tell us," Working Papers 2004-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    7. Katharine Neiss & Edward Nelson, 2002. "Inflation dynamics, marginal cost, and the output gap: evidence from three countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    8. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Chin Te Liu & Ruilin Zhou, 2002. "When can we forecast inflation?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 32-44.
    9. John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation persistence in an era of well-anchored inflation expectations," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct13.
    10. Goodfriend, Marvin & King, Robert G., 2005. "The incredible Volcker disinflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 981-1015, July.
    11. Ellen E. Meade, 2005. "The FOMC: preferences, voting, and consensus," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 93-101.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jakob de Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2011. "Corporate culture and behaviour: A survey," DNB Working Papers 334, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    2. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2015. "The Federal Reserve׳s abandonment of its 1923 objectives of monetary policy," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 475-493.
    3. Christian Pierdzioch & Jan-Christoph Rülke & Peter Tillmann, 2013. "Using forecasts to uncover the loss function of FOMC members," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201302, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. Carré, Emmanuel, 2013. "La cible d’inflation de la Fed : continuité ou rupture ?," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 14.
    5. El-Shagi, Makram & Jung, Alexander, 2015. "Does the Greenspan era provide evidence on leadership in the FOMC?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 173-190.
    6. Thornton, Daniel L., 2014. "Monetary policy: Why money matters (and interest rates don’t)," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 202-213.
    7. Stefan Reitz & Ulf D. Slopek, 2014. "Fixing The Phillips Curve: The Case Of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity In The Us," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 122-131, March.
    8. Tillmann, Peter, 2010. "The Fed's perceived Phillips curve: Evidence from individual FOMC forecasts," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1008-1013, December.
    9. Arnab Bhattacharjee & Sean Holly, 2015. "Influence, Interactions and Heterogeneity: Taking Personalities out of Monetary Policy Decision-making," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(2), pages 153-182, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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