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An evaluation of the Federal Reserve estimates of the natural rate of unemployment in real time

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  • Fabia Gumbau-Brisa
  • Giovanni P. Olivei

Abstract

The authors derive an estimate of the Federal Reserve's assessment of the natural rate of unemployment in real time from the Greenbook forecast of inflation. The estimated natural rate starts to rise noticeably in the second half of the mid-1970s. It stays relatively high in the 1980s, and then declines noticeably in the second half of the 1990s. They compare the Greenbook estimates with the estimates obtained in real time from simple relationships that extract information about the natural rate of unemployment from the dynamics of inflation, aggregate demand, and the functioning of the labor market. When differences between these measures and the Greenbook arise, the improvement to the Greenbook inflation forecast that would have been achieved by using a different estimate of the natural rate of unemployment is typically small.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabia Gumbau-Brisa & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2013. "An evaluation of the Federal Reserve estimates of the natural rate of unemployment in real time," Working Papers 13-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 18 Dec 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:13-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jay L. Zagorsky, 1998. "Job Vacancies In The United States: 1923 To 1994," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 338-345, May.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 1997. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 11-32, Winter.
    4. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Ayseg├╝l Sahin & Robert G. Valletta, 2012. "A Search and Matching Approach to Labor Markets: Did the Natural Rate of Unemployment Rise?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 3-26, Summer.
    5. Thomas Laubach, 2001. "Measuring The NAIRU: Evidence From Seven Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 218-231, May.
    6. Robert J. Tetlow & Brian Ironside, 2007. "Real-Time Model Uncertainty in the United States: The Fed, 1996-2003," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1533-1561, October.
    7. Arabinda Basistha & Richard Startz, 2008. "Measuring the NAIRU with Reduced Uncertainty: A Multiple-Indicator Common-Cycle Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 805-811, November.
    8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2010. "Modeling inflation after the crisis," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 173-220.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E47 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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