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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. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  2. Alex Cukierman & Francesco Lippi, 2003. "Endogenous Monetary Policy with Unobserved Potential Output," CEIS Research Paper 26, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  3. Ehrmann, M. & Smets, F., 2001. "Uncertain Potential Output: Implications for Monetary Policy," Papers 59, Quebec a Montreal - Recherche en gestion.
  4. 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.
  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. Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  7. 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.
  8. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2003. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/40, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  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. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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