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Natural rate doubts

  • Beyer, Andreas
  • Farmer, Roger E. A.

We study the low frequency comovements in unemployment, inflation and the federal funds rate in the U.S. From 1970 through 1979 all three series trended up together; after 1979 they all trended down. The conventional explanation for the buildup of inflation in the 1970's is that the Fed reacted to an increase in the natural rate of unemployment by conducting an overly passive monetary policy. We show that this explanation is difficult to reconcile with the observed comovement of the fed funds rate and inflation. We argue instead that the source of the inflation buildup in the 1970's was a downward drift in the real interest rate that was translated into a simultaneous increase in unemployment and inflation by passive Fed policy. Our explanation relies on the existence in the data of an upward sloping long run Phillips curve. JEL Classification: C32, E3, E43, E58

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0121.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020121
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  1. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Introduction to "Monetary Policy Rules"," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Katarina Juselius, 2001. "European integration and monetary transmission mechanisms: the case of Italy," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 341-358.
  3. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2004. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: Natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/24, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  8. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2000. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Working Paper Series 0015, European Central Bank.
  9. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
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  13. Søren Johansen & Katarina Juselius, 1992. "Identification of the Long-Run and the Short-Run Structure: An Application to the ISLM Model," Discussion Papers 92-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 907-31, November.
  15. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
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  17. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  18. Wouter J. den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1999. "Contract-Theoretic Approaches to Wages and Displacement," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1216, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. Jushan Bai & Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock, 1998. "Testing For and Dating Common Breaks in Multivariate Time Series," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 395-432.
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  21. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  22. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
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  25. Henrik Hansen & Søren Johansen, 1999. "Some tests for parameter constancy in cointegrated VAR-models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 306-333.
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  29. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 1997. "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-48, November.
  31. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  32. repec:fth:starer:9613 is not listed on IDEAS
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  34. 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.
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