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On Modeling the Effects of Inflation Shocks

A popular model in the literature postulates an interest rate rule, a NAIRU price equation, and an aggregate demand equation in which aggregate demand depends on the real interest rate. In this model a positive inflation shock with the nominal interest rate held constant is explosive because it increases aggregate demand (because the real interest rate is lower), which increases inflation through the price equation, which further increases aggregate demand, and so on. In order for the model to be stable, the nominal interest rate must rise more than inflation, which means that the coefficient on inflation in the interest rate rule must be greater than one. The results in this paper suggest, however, that an inflation shock with the nominal interest rate held constant has a negative effect on real output. There are three reasons. First, the data support the use of nominal rather than real interest rates in aggregate expenditure equations. Second, the evidence suggests that the percentage increase in nominal household wealth from a positive inflation shock is less than the percentage increase in the price level, which is contractionary because of the fall in real wealth. Third, there is evidence that wages lag prices, and so a positive inflation shock results in an initial fall in real wage rates and thus real labor income, which is contractionary. If these three features are true, they imply that a positive inflation shock has a negative effect on aggregate demand even if the nominal interest rate is held constant. Not only does the Fed not have to increase the nominal interest rate more than the increase in inflation for there to be a contraction, it does not have to increase the nominal rate at all!

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d13a/d1300.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1300.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision: Mar 2002
Publication status: Published in Contributions to Macroeconomics, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, Article 3
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1300
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. George L. Perry, 1980. "Inflation in Theory and Practice," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 11(1, Tenth ), pages 207-260.
  2. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, August.
  3. John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Fair, Ray C, 1993. "Testing the Rational Expectations Hypothesis in Macroeconometric Models," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 169-90, April.
  6. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear RationalExpectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Reifschneider & Robert Tetlow & John Williams, 1999. "Aggregate disturbances, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy: the FRB/US perspective," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-19.
  8. David H. Romer, 2000. "Keynesian Macroeconomics without the LM Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 149-169, Spring.
  9. Ray C. Fair, 2000. "Testing the NAIRU Model for the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 64-71, February.
  10. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  11. Robert J. Gordon & Stephen R. King, 1982. "The Output Cost of Disinflation in Traditional and Vector Autoregressive Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 205-244.
  12. John B. Taylor, 2000. "Teaching Modern Macroeconomics at the Principles Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 90-94, May.
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