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Why Do We Think That Inflation Expectations Matter for Inflation? (And Should We?)

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Abstract

Economists and economic policymakers believe that households' and firms' expectations of future inflation are a key determinant of actual inflation. A review of the relevant theoretical and empirical literature suggests that this belief rests on extremely shaky foundations, and a case is made that adhering to it uncritically could easily lead to serious policy errors.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy B. Rudd, 2021. "Why Do We Think That Inflation Expectations Matter for Inflation? (And Should We?)," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-062, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2021-62
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2021.062
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. McCallum, Bennett T, 1976. "Rational Expectations and the Natural Rate Hypothesis: Some Consistent Estimates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 43-52, January.
    3. Gordon, Robert J., 1976. "Recent developments in the theory of inflation and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 185-219, April.
    4. Jeremy B. Rudd, 2020. "Underlying Inflation: Its Measurement and Significance," FEDS Notes 2020-09-18-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
    6. Zhen Huo & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2020. "Sticky Wage Models and Labor Supply Constraints," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 284-318, July.
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    8. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-472, June.
    9. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-175, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Phillips curve; Expectations; Inflation; Wage determination; Wage-price spiral;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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