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Inflation and Unit Labor Cost

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  • Robert G. King

    () (Boston University, Department of Economics)

  • Mark W. Watson

    () (Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University)

Abstract

We study two decompositions of inflation, , motivated by a New Keynesian Pricing Equation. The first uses four components: lagged , expected future , real unit labor cost ( ), and a residual. The second uses two components: fundamental inflation (discounted expected future ) and a residual. We find large low-frequency differences between actual and fundamental inflation. From 1999-2011 fundamental inflation fell by more than 15 percentage points, while actual inflation changed little. We discuss this discrepancy in terms of the data (a large drop in labor's share of income) and through the lens of a canonical structural model (Smets-Wouters (2007)).

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. King & Mark W. Watson, 2012. "Inflation and Unit Labor Cost," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-005, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2012-005
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2017. "Escaping the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1030-1058, April.
    2. Mangin, Sephorah & Sedláček, Petr, 2018. "Unemployment and the labor share," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 41-59.
    3. Albonico, Alice & Paccagnini, Alessia & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2017. "Great recession, slow recovery and muted fiscal policies in the US," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 140-161.
    4. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Joe Cho Yiu Ng, 2018. "Macro Aspects of Housing," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2018_016, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
    5. Lieberknecht, Philipp, 2018. "Financial Frictions, the Phillips Curve and Monetary Policy," MPRA Paper 89429, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. George-Marios Angeletos, 2018. "Frictional Coordination," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 563-603.
    7. Madalina-Gabriela Anghel & Georgeta Lixandru & Marius Popovici & Alina – Georgiana Solomon & Emilia Stanciu, 2017. "Theoretical Elements on the Use of Price Indices for Inflation Measurement," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 7(3), pages 38-47, July.
    8. Hess Chung & Edward Herbst & Michael T. Kiley, 2015. "Effective Monetary Policy Strategies in New Keynesian Models: A Reexamination," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 289-344.
    9. Richard A. Ashley & Randall J. Verbrugge., 2006. "Mis-Specification in Phillips Curve Regressions: Quantifying Frequency Dependence in This Relationship While Allowing for Feedback," Working Papers e06-11, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Simon Gilchrist & Raphael Schoenle & Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajšek, 2017. "Inflation Dynamics during the Financial Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 785-823, March.
    11. Álvarez, Luis J. & Correa-López, Mónica, 2020. "Inflation expectations in euro area Phillips curves," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    12. Cochrane, John H., 2017. "The new-Keynesian liquidity trap," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 47-63.
    13. Filippo Gori, 2016. "Disentangling the Monetary Policy Stance," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 27, Bank of Lithuania.
    14. Del Negro, Marco & Hasegawa, Raiden B. & Schorfheide, Frank, 2016. "Dynamic prediction pools: An investigation of financial frictions and forecasting performance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 192(2), pages 391-405.
    15. Chiara Fratto & Harald Uhlig, 2020. "Accounting for Post-Crisis Inflation: A Retro Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 133-153, January.
    16. Böhl, Gregor & Strobel, Felix, 2020. "US business cycle dynamics at the zero lower bound," IMFS Working Paper Series 143, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    17. Egorov D.A. (Егоров, Д.А.) & Perevyshina E.A. (Перевышина, Е.А.), 2016. "Modelling of Inflationary Processes in Russia [Моделирование Инфляционных Процессов В России]," Working Papers 2138, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    18. Gregor Boehl & Felix Strobel, 2020. "US Business Cycle Dynamics at the Zero Lower Bound," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_192, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.

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