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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. Ehrmann, Michael & Smets, Frank, 2001. "Uncertain potential output: implications for monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0059, European Central Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Edward Nelson & Kalin Nikolov, 2002. "Monetary policy and stagflation in the UK," Bank of England working papers 155, Bank of England.
  4. 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.
  5. Erceg, Christopher J. & Levin, Andrew T., 2003. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 915-944, May.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  9. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2002-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.).
  13. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2000. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Working Paper Series 0015, European Central Bank.
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