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Indeterminacy and Learning: An Analysis of Monetary Policy in the Great Inflation

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  • Thomas A. Lubik
  • Christian Matthes

Abstract

We argue in this paper that the Great Inflation of the 1970s can be understood as the result of equilibrium indeterminacy in which loose monetary policy engendered excess volatility in macroeconomic aggregates and prices. We show, however, that the Federal Reserve inadvertently pursued policies that were not anti-inflationary enough because it did not fully understand the economic environment it was operating in. Specifically, it had imperfect knowledge about the structure of the U.S. economy and it was subject to data misperceptions. The real-time data flow at that time did not capture the true state of the economy, as large subsequent revisions showed. It is the combination of learning about the economy and, more importantly, the use of data riddled with measurement error that resulted in policies, which the Federal Reserve believed to be optimal, but when implemented led to equilibrium indeterminacy in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. Lubik & Christian Matthes, 2014. "Indeterminacy and Learning: An Analysis of Monetary Policy in the Great Inflation," CAMA Working Papers 2014-16, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2014-16
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    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2014-02/16_2014_lubik_matthes.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:dyncon:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:66-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:ecmode:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:156-162 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lubik, Thomas A. & Matthes, Christian, 2016. "Indeterminacy and learning: An analysis of monetary policy in the Great Inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 85-106.
    4. Berardi, Michele & Galimberti, Jaqueson K., 2017. "On the initialization of adaptive learning in macroeconomic models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 26-53.
    5. Milani, Fabio, 2017. "Sentiment and the U.S. business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 289-311.
    6. Qureshi, Irfan, 2016. "Monetarism, Indeterminacy and the Great Inflation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1123, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Amir-Ahmadi, Pooyan & Matthes, Christian & Wang, Mu-Chun, 2017. "Measurement errors and monetary policy: Then and now," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 66-78.
    8. Qureshi, Irfan, 2016. "The Role of Money in Federal Reserve Policy," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1133, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    9. Elmar Mertens & Christian Matthes & Thomas Lubik, 2017. "Indeterminacy and Imperfect Information," 2017 Meeting Papers 337, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve; Great Moderation; Bayesian Estimation; Least Squares Learning;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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