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Escaping Nash and volatile inflation

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  • Martin Ellison
  • Tony Yates

Abstract

Why is inflation so much lower and at the same time more stable in developed economies in the 1990s, compared with the 1970s? This paper suggests that the United Kingdom, United States and other countries may have escaped from a volatile inflation equilibrium. Our argument builds on the story proposed by Tom Sargent in The conquest of American inflation, where the fall in inflation in the 1980s was attributed to the changing beliefs informing monetary policy. To explain the escape in inflation volatility, we unwind one of Sargent’s simplifications and allow the monetary authority to react to some of the shocks in the economy. In this new model, a revised account of recent history is that when the evidence turned against the existence of a long-run inflation-output trade-off in the 1980s there was an escape from high inflation, but the authorities were also persuaded to stop using changes in inflation to offset shocks. Inflation and inflation volatility therefore escaped in tandem. Our analysis also sheds some light on why the escape in inflation occurred at the time it did. Our model, like the Sargent model it derives from, omits the revolution in institutional design and understanding that underpins monetary policy. So the gloomy predictions for the future derived from a literal reading of it are likely to be unfounded.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ellison & Tony Yates, 2007. "Escaping Nash and volatile inflation," Bank of England working papers 330, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:330
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    File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/research/Documents/workingpapers/2007/WP330.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kolyuzhnov, Dmitri & Bogomolova, Anna & Slobodyan, Sergey, 2014. "Escape dynamics: A continuous-time approximation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 161-183.
    2. Mitra, Kaushik & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2013. "Policy change and learning in the RBC model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1947-1971.
    3. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2009. "Expectations, Learning and Monetary Policy: An Overview of Recent Research," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning, edition 1, volume 13, chapter 2, pages 027-076 Central Bank of Chile.
    4. n/a, 2007. "Monetary Policy, Beliefs, Unemployment and Inflation; Evidence from the UK," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 305, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    5. Rhys Bidder & Kalin Nikolov & Tony Yates, "undated". " Self-confirming Inflation Persistence," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0908, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    6. Federico di Pace & Kaushik Mitra & Shoujian Zhang, 2014. "Adaptive Learning and Labour Market Dynamics," CDMA Working Paper Series 201408, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    7. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    8. Caprioli, Francesco, 2015. "Optimal fiscal policy under learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 101-124.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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