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The ‘Great Moderation’ in the United Kingdom

  • Benati, Luca

We use a Bayesian time-varying parameters structural VAR with stochastic volatility for GDP deflator inflation, real GDP growth, a 3-month nominal rate, and the rate of growth of M4 to investigate the underlying causes of the Great Moderation in the United Kingdom. Our evidence points towards a dominant role played by shocks in fostering the more stable macroeconomic environment of the last two decades. Results from counterfactual simulations, in particular, show that (1) the Great Inflation was due, to a dominant extent, to large demand non-policy shocks, and to a lesser extent–especially in 1973 and 1979–to supply shocks; (2) imposing the 1970s’ monetary rule over the entire sample period would have made almost no difference in terms of inflation and output growth outcomes; and (3)mechanically ‘bringing the Monetary Policy Committee vback in time’ would only have had a limited impact on the Great Inflation episode, at the cost of lower output growth. These results are quite striking in the light of the more traditional, narrative approach, which suggests that the monetary policy regime is an important factor in explaining the Great Moderation in the United Kingdom. We discuss one interpretation which could explain both sets of results, based on the ‘indeterminacy hypothesis’ advocated, for the United States, by Clarida, Gali, and Gertler (2000) and Lubik and Schorfheide (2004). JEL Classification: E32, E47, E52, E58

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0769.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20070769
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  1. Luca Benati, 2005. "U.K. Monetary Regimes and Macroeconomic Stylised Facts," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 107, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Cogley, Timothy & Morozov, Sergei & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "Bayesian fan charts for U.K. inflation: Forecasting and sources of uncertainty in an evolving monetary system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1893-1925, November.
  3. Canova, Fabio & Gambetti, Luca & Pappa, Evi, 2006. "The Structural Dynamics of US Output and Inflation: What Explains the Changes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
  5. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G. & Rossi, P.E.Peter E., 2004. "Bayesian analysis of stochastic volatility models with fat-tails and correlated errors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 185-212, September.
  6. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Erratum to "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?"," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1849-1849, October.
  7. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, 02.
  10. Luca Benati, 2003. "Evolving Post-World War II U.K. Economic Performance," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 171, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. Anonymous, 2001. "General Discussion," Trade Liberalization Under NAFTA: Report Card on Agriculture; Proceedings of the 6th Agricultural and Food Policy Systems Information Workshop -2000 16839, Farm Foundation, Agricultural and Food Policy Systems Information Workshops.
  12. Jeremy Berkowitz & Francis X. Diebold, 1998. "Bootstrapping Multivariate Spectra," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 664-666, November.
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