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The expectations trap hypothesis

Author

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  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Christopher J. Gust

Abstract

The authors examine the inflation take-off of the early 1970s in terms of the expectations trap hypothesis, according to which fear of violating the public’s inflation expectations pushed the Fed into producing high inflation. This interpretation is compared with the Phillips curve hypothesis, according to which the Fed produced high inflation as the unfortunate byproduct of a conscious decision to jump-start a weak economy. Which hypothesis is more plausible has important implications for what should be done to prevent future inflation flare-ups.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher J. Gust, 2000. "The expectations trap hypothesis," Working Paper 0004, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0004
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. L.J. Christiano & C.J. Gust, 1999. "Taylor Rules in a Limited Participation Model," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 33, Netherlands Central Bank.
    2. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
    3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    4. John H. Cochrane, 1999. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 323-421 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
    7. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1998. "Expectation Traps and Discretion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 462-492, August.
    8. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
    9. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
    10. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
    11. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2001. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 225-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2000. "Understanding the fiscal theory of the price level," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 2-38.
    13. Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Modeling money," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    15. St-Amant, P. & van Norden, S., 1997. "Measurement of the Output Gap: A Discussion of Recent Research at the Bank of Canada," Technical Reports 79, Bank of Canada.
    16. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1.
    17. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
    18. William Kerr & Robert G. King, 1996. "Limits on interest rate rules in the IS model," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 47-75.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation (Finance) ; Phillips curve ; Economic conditions - United States;

    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models

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