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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. 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. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Working Paper Series 0012, European Central Bank.
  3. James Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation Occur Despite Policymaker Commitment to a Taylor Rule?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 129, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Stagflation in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Alex Cukierman & Francesco Lippi, 2003. "Endogenous Monetary Policy with Unobserved Potential Output," CEIS Research Paper 26, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  6. 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 151-75, April.
  7. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  8. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2003. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/40, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. 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.
  10. Ehrmann, Michael & Smets, Frank, 2001. "Uncertain potential output: implications for monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0059, European Central Bank.
  11. 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.
  12. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  13. Christopher J. Erceg and Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Imperfect Credibility and Inflation Persistence," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 19, Society for Computational Economics.
  14. Kevin J. Lansing, 2000. "Learning about a shift in trend output: implications for monetary policy and inflation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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