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Measuring the level and uncertainty of trend inflation

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  • Elmar Mertens

Abstract

Firmly-anchored inflation expectations are widely viewed as playing a central role in the successful conduct of monetary policy. This paper presents estimates of trend inflation, based on information contained in survey expectations, the term structure of interest rates, and realized inflation rates. My application combines a variety of data sources at the monthly frequency and it can flexibly handle missing data arising from infrequent observations and limited data availability. In order to assess whether inflation expectations are anchored, uncertainty surrounding future changes in trend inflation--measured by a time-varying volatility of trend shocks--is estimated as well. ; Not surprisingly, the estimates suggest that trend inflation in the U.S. rose and fell again over the 1970s and 1980s, accompanied by increases in uncertainty. Considering the recent crisis, full-sample estimates of trend inflation fell quite a bit, but not too dramatically. In contrast, real-time estimates recorded sizeable increases of trend uncertainty during the crisis of 2007/2008, which have abated since then.

Suggested Citation

  • Elmar Mertens, 2011. "Measuring the level and uncertainty of trend inflation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-42
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. James M. Nason & Gregor W. Smith, 2013. "Measuring the Slowly Evolving Trend in US Inflation with Professional Forecasts," Working Papers 1316, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    2. Elmar Mertens & James M Nason, 2015. "Inflation and Professional Forecast Dynamics: An Evaluation of Stickiness, Persistence, and Volatility," CAMA Working Papers 2015-06, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    3. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2014. "Measuring Price-Level Uncertainty and Instability in the U.S., 1850-2012," Working Papers 2014-33, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    4. Todd E. Clark & Taeyoung Doh, 2011. "A Bayesian evaluation of alternative models of trend inflation," Research Working Paper RWP 11-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2015. "Core Inflation and Trend Inflation," NBER Working Papers 21282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Francesca Rondina, 2018. "Estimating Unobservable Inflation Expectations in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, February.
    7. James M. Nason & Gregor W. Smith, 2013. "Reverse Kalman filtering U.S. inflation with sticky professional forecasts," Working Papers 13-34, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    8. Hasenzagl, Thomas & Pellegrino, Filippo & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Ricco, Giovanni, 2017. "A Model of the Fed’s View on Inflation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1145, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    9. Thomas Hasenzagl & Filippo Pellegrino & Lucrezia Reichlin & Giovanni Ricco, 2018. "A model of FED'S view on inflation," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2018-03, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    10. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J. & Surico, Paolo, 2015. "Price-level uncertainty and instability in the United Kingdom," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-16.
    11. Sohei Kaihatsu & Jouchi Nakajima, 2015. "Has Trend Inflation Shifted?: An Empirical Analysis with a Regime-Switching Model," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 15-E-3, Bank of Japan.
    12. Aruoba, S. Boragan, 2016. "Term structures of inflation expectations and real interest rates," Working Papers 16-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 20 Sep 2016.
    13. Aruoba, S. Boragan, 2014. "Term Structures of Inflation Expectations and Real Interest Rates: The Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy," Staff Report 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    14. Christine Garnier & Elmar Mertens & Edward Nelson, 2015. "Trend Inflation in Advanced Economies," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 65-136, September.
    15. Schmelzing, Paul, 2017. "Staff Working Paper No. 686: Eight centuries of the risk-free rate: bond market reversals from the Venetians to the ‘VaR shock’," Bank of England working papers 686, Bank of England.
    16. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Feroli, Michael & Hooper, Peter & Kashyap, Anil K & Schoenholtz, Kermit, 2017. "Deflating Inflation Expectations: The Implications of Inflation's Simple Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 11925, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Dany-Knedlik, Geraldine & Holtemöller, Oliver, 2017. "Inflation dynamics during the financial crisis in Europe: Cross-sectional identification of long-run inflation expectations," IWH Discussion Papers 10/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    18. Chan, Joshua C C & Clark, Todd E. & Koop, Gary, 2015. "A New Model of Inflation, Trend Inflation, and Long-Run Inflation Expectations," Working Paper 1520, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    19. Clark, Todd E. & Doh, Taeyoung, 2014. "Evaluating alternative models of trend inflation," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 426-448.

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    Keywords

    Inflation (Finance) - United States;

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