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The Great Inflation of the 1970s

  • Fabrice Collard
  • Harris Dellas

Was the high inflation of the 1970s mostly due to incomplete information about the structure of the economy (an unavoidable mistake as suggested by Orphanides, 2000)? Or, to weak reaction to expected inflation and/or excessive policy activism that led to indeterminacies (a policy mistake, a scenario suggested by Clarida, Gali and Gertler, 2000)? We study this question within the NNS model with policy commitment and imperfect information, requiring that the model have satisfactory overall empirical performance. We find that both explanations do a good job in accounting for the great inflation. Even with the commonly used specification of the interest policy rule, high and persistent inflation can occur following a significant productivity slowdown if policymakers significantly and persistently underestimate "core" inflation.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 799.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:799
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  1. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  2. Svensson, Lars & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy," Seminar Papers 688, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  4. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2004. "Monetary Policy and Stagflation in the UK," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 293-318, June.
  5. James Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation occur despite policymaker commitment to a Taylor rule?," Working Paper 2003-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary policy rules, macroeconomic stability and inflation: a view from the trenches," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-62, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Alex Cukierman & Francesco Lippi, 2004. "Endogenous monetary policy with unobserved potential output," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 493, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  9. Christopher J. Erceg and Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Imperfect Credibility and Inflation Persistence," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 19, Society for Computational Economics.
  10. Ehrmann, M. & Smets, F., 2001. "Uncertain Potential Output: Implications for Monetary Policy," Papers 59, Quebec a Montreal - Recherche en gestion.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  12. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Peter N. Ireland, 1998. "Does the Time-Consistency Problem Explain the Behavior of Inflation in the United States?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 415, Boston College Department of Economics.
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