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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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    Cited by:

    1. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat & Mikael Juselius & Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul, 2019. "Monetary Policy in the Grip of a Pincer Movement," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Álvaro Aguirre & Markus Brunnermeier & Diego Saravia (ed.),Monetary Policy and Financial Stability: Transmission Mechanisms and Policy Implications, edition 1, volume 26, chapter 10, pages 311-356, Central Bank of Chile.
    2. Yasuo Hirose & Takushi Kurozumi & Willem Van Zandweghe, 2020. "Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Stability Revisited," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 255-274, July.
    3. Haque, Qazi & Groshenny, Nicolas & Weder, Mark, 2021. "Do we really know that U.S. monetary policy was destabilizing in the 1970s?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    4. Jaqueson K. Galimberti, 2020. "Information weighting under least squares learning," CAMA Working Papers 2020-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Kobielarz, Michal, 2018. "The economics of monetary unions," Other publications TiSEM b0293536-68ec-4905-bffd-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Makin, Anthony J. & Robson, Alex & Ratnasiri, Shyama, 2017. "Missing money found causing Australia's inflation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 156-162.
    9. Milani, Fabio, 2017. "Sentiment and the U.S. business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 289-311.
    10. Guido Ascari & Paolo Bonomolo & Hedibert Lopes, 2018. "Walk on the wild side: Multiplicative sunspots and temporarily unstable paths," DNB Working Papers 597, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    11. Elmar Mertens & Christian Matthes & Thomas Lubik, 2017. "Indeterminacy and Imperfect Information," 2017 Meeting Papers 337, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Qureshi, Irfan, 2016. "The Role of Money in Federal Reserve Policy," Economic Research Papers 269313, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    13. Thomas A. Lubik & Christian Matthes & Fabio Verona, 2019. "Assessing U.S. Aggregate Fluctuations Across Time and Frequencies," Working Paper 19-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    14. 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.
    15. Best, Gabriela & Hur, Joonyoung, 2019. "Bad luck, bad policy, and learning? A Markov-switching approach to understanding postwar U.S. macroeconomic dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 55-78.
    16. Qureshi, Irfan, 2018. "Money Aggregates and Determinacy : A Reinterpretation of Monetary Policy During the Great Inflation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1156, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    17. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat & Mikael Juselius & Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul, 2018. "La política monetaria cercada por un movimiento de pinzas," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 21(2), pages 004-044, August.
    18. Qureshi, Irfan, 2016. "Monetarism, Indeterminacy and the Great Inflation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1123, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    19. Bonam, Dennis & Goy, Gavin, 2019. "Home biased expectations and macroeconomic imbalances in a monetary union," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 25-42.
    20. Dmitry Kreptsev & Sergei Seleznev, 2018. "Forecasting for the Russian Economy Using Small-Scale DSGE Models," Russian Journal of Money and Finance, Bank of Russia, vol. 77(2), pages 51-67, June.
    21. Gavin Goy & Cars Homme & Kostas Mavromatis, 2018. "Forward Guidance and the Role of Central Bank Credibility," DNB Working Papers 614, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    22. Imamudin Yuliadi, 2020. "The Implementation of a Dual Monetary System in Indonesia," International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), vol. 0(3), pages 28-39.
    23. Engin Kara & Tony Yates, 2021. "A Case against a 4% Inflation Target," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 53(5), pages 1097-1119, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve; Great Moderation; Bayesian Estimation; Least Squares Learning;
    All these keywords.

    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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