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Would the Bundesbank have prevented the Great Inflation in the United States?

  • Benati, Luca

Policy counterfactuals based on estimated structural VARs routinely suggest that bringing Alan Greenspan back in the 1970s’ United States would not have prevented the Great Inflation. We show that a standard policy counterfactual suggests that the Bundesbank–which is near-universally credited for sparing West Germany the Great Inflation–would also not have been able to prevent the Great Inflation in the United States. The sheer implausibility of this result sounds a cautionary note on taking the outcome of SVAR-based policy counterfactuals at face value, and raises questions on the very reliability of such exercises. JEL Classification: E32, E47, E52, E58

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1134.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091134
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Christopher A. Sims, 1986. "Are forecasting models usable for policy analysis?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-16.
  4. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 1994. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models: Comments: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 413-17, October.
  5. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Luca Benati, 2008. "The "Great Moderation" in the United Kingdom," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 121-147, 02.
  7. Benati, Luca & Surico, Paolo, 2008. "VAR analysis and the Great Moderation," Working Paper Series 0866, European Central Bank.
  8. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Stagflation in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2003. "Structural changes in the US economy: is there a role for monetary policy?," Economics Working Papers 918, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2008.
  10. Benati, Luca & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2007. "U.S. evolving macroeconomic dynamics: a structural investigation," Working Paper Series 0746, European Central Bank.
  11. Christopher A. Sims, 1982. "Policy Analysis with Econometric Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 107-164.
  12. Benati, Luca, 2010. "Are policy counterfactuals based on structural VAR's reliable?," Working Paper Series 1188, European Central Bank.
  13. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
  14. Sargent, Thomas J, 1984. "Autoregressions, Expectations, and Advice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 408-15, May.
  15. Otmar Issing, 2005. "Why did the Great Inflation not happen in Germany?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 329-336.
  16. J. Bradford DeLong, 1997. "America's Peacetime Inflation: The 1970s," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 247-280 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Edward Nelson, 2004. "The U.K.’s rocky road to stability," Monetary Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Oct.
  18. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  19. 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.
  20. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  21. Allan H. Meltzer, 2005. "Origins of the Great Inflation," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 145-176.
  22. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "After Keynesian macroeconomics," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
  23. Jeremy Berkowitz & Francis X. Diebold, 1998. "Bootstrapping Multivariate Spectra," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 664-666, November.
  24. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 2002. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 69-87, January.
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