IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgif/898.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Three great American disinflations

Author

Listed:
  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Christopher J. Erceg
  • Andrew T. Levin
  • Ryan Michaels

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of transparency and credibility in accounting for the widely divergent macroeconomic effects of three episodes of deliberate monetary contraction: the post-Civil War deflation, the post-WWI deflation, and the Volcker disinflation. Using a dynamic general equilibrium model in which private agents use optimal filtering to infer the central bank's nominal anchor, we demonstrate that the salient features of these three historical episodes can be explained by differences in the design and transparency of monetary policy, even without any time variation in economic structure or model parameters. For a policy regime with relatively high credibility, our analysis highlights the benefits of a gradualist approach (as in the 1870s) rather than a sudden change in policy (as in 1920-21). In contrast, for a policy institution with relatively low credibility (such as the Federal Reserve in late 1980), an aggressive policy stance can play an important signalling role by making the policy shift more evident to private agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Bordo & Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin & Ryan Michaels, 2007. "Three great American disinflations," International Finance Discussion Papers 898, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:898
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2007/898/default.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2007/898/ifdp898.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Erceg, Christopher J. & Levin, Andrew T., 2003. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 915-944, May.
    2. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1997. "The New Neoclassical Synthesis and the Role of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 231-296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148, Elsevier.
    4. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg (ed.), 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026252242x.
    6. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "What Is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 426-477, June.
    7. Bordo,Michael D. & Capie,Forrest, 2006. "Monetary Regimes in Transition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521030427, May.
    8. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393, Elsevier.
    9. Romer, Christina D, 1989. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross National Product, 1869-1908," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 1-37, February.
    10. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 2019. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 52(4), pages 537-571.
    11. Ball, Laurence, 1994. "Credible Disinflation with Staggered Price-Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 282-289, March.
    12. Roll, Richard, 1972. "Interest Rates and Price Expectations During the Civil War," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 476-498, June.
    13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    14. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-1311, July.
    15. Goodfriend, Marvin & King, Robert G., 2005. "The incredible Volcker disinflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 981-1015, July.
    16. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
    17. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2005. "Can Long-Run Restrictions Identify Technology Shocks?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1237-1278, December.
    18. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
    19. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Timberlake, Richard Jr., 1975. "The resumption act and the money supply," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 343-354, July.
    21. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
    22. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
    25. John M. Firestone, 1960. "Federal Receipts and Expenditures during Business Cycles, 1879-1958," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fire60-1, March.
    26. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy: Expanded Version," NBER Technical Working Papers 0233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519999 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    29. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1, March.
    30. Thomas M. Humphrey, 2004. "Classical deflation theory," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 90(Win), pages 11-32.
    31. Marvin Goodfriend, 1997. "Monetary policy comes of age: a 20th century odyssey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-22.
    32. Taylor, John B, 1983. "Union Wage Settlements during a Disinflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 981-993, December.
    33. Robert E. Hall, 1982. "Inflation: Causes and Effects," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hall82-1, March.
    34. J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    35. Robert J. Gordon, 1982. "Why Stopping Inflation May Be Costly: Evidence from Fourteen Historical Episodes," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 11-40, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1984. "The Lucas Critique and the Volcker Deflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 211-215, May.
    37. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, March.
    38. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "Front matter, The American Business Cycle. Continuity and Change," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages -15, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    40. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 910-945, December.
    2. Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup & Anastasia Zhutova, 2015. "Labor Market Policies and the "Missing Deflation" Puzzle: Lessons from Hoover Policies during the U.S Great Depression," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 15.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    3. Bordo, Michael D. & Haubrich, Joseph G., 2010. "Credit crises, money and contractions: An historical view," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-18, January.
    4. Elmar Mertens, 2016. "Managing Beliefs about Monetary Policy under Discretion," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(4), pages 661-698, June.
    5. Michael Bordo & Pierre Siklos, 2014. "Central Bank Credibility, Reputation and Inflation Targeting in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 20693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    7. David Laidler, 2007. "Successes and Failures of Monetary Policy Since the 1950s," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20072, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
    8. N. N., 2012. "Incomes Policies, Expectations and the NAIRU," WIFO Working Papers 433, WIFO.
    9. Patrick Newman, 2016. "The depression of 1920–1921: a credit induced boom and a market based recovery?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 387-414, December.
    10. Collard, Fabrice & Fève, Patrick & Matheron, Julien, 2007. "The Dynamic Effects of Disinflation Policies," IDEI Working Papers 426, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    11. Reicher, Christopher Phillip, 2009. "What can a New Keynesian labor matching model match?," Kiel Working Papers 1496, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    12. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon-Lane, 2010. "Exits from Recessions: The U.S. Experience 1920-2007," NBER Working Papers 15731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2007. "Stock market booms and monetary policy in the twentieth century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 89(Mar), pages 91-122.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200705 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bordo, Michael & Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew & Michaels, Ryan, 2017. "Policy credibility and alternative approaches to disinflation," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 422-440.
    3. Erceg, Christopher J. & Levin, Andrew T., 2003. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 915-944, May.
    4. Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew, 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with durable consumption goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1341-1359, October.
    5. Schmidt, Sebastian & Wieland, Volker, 2013. "The New Keynesian Approach to Dynamic General Equilibrium Modeling: Models, Methods and Macroeconomic Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, in: Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.), Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 1439-1512, Elsevier.
    6. Michael Paetz, 2007. "Robust Control and Persistence in the New Keynesian Economy," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20711, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
    7. Rochelle M. Edge & Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "The responses of wages and prices to technology shocks," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-65, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John Williams & Noah M. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy under Uncertainty in Micro-Founded Macroeconometric Models," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 229-312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    10. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Trabandt, Mathias & Walentin, Karl, 2010. "DSGE Models for Monetary Policy Analysis," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 7, pages 285-367, Elsevier.
    11. Patrick Fève & Julien Matheron & Jean‐Guillaume Sahuc, 2010. "Disinflation Shocks in the Eurozone: A DSGE Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(2‐3), pages 289-323, March.
    12. Coenen, Gunter & Wieland, Volker, 2005. "A small estimated euro area model with rational expectations and nominal rigidities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1081-1104, July.
    13. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200308 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2011. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247, April.
    15. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Kurmann, André, 2010. "The business cycle implications of reciprocity in labor relations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 837-850, October.
    16. Dennis, Richard & Soderstrom, Ulf, 2006. "How Important Is Precommitment for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 847-872, June.
    17. Fujiwara, Ippei & Hara, Naoko & Hirose, Yasuo & Teranishi, Yuki, 2005. "The Japanese Economic Model (JEM)," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 23(2), pages 61-142, May.
    18. Cavalcanti, Marco A, 2010. "Desinflação Ótima na Presença de Inércia Inflacionária, Formação de Hábito e Fricções Monetárias," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 64(4), December.
    19. Givens, Gregory E. & Salemi, Michael K., 2008. "Generalized method of moments and inverse control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 3113-3147, October.
    20. Guillermo Calvo & Oya Celasun & Michael Kumhof, 2003. "Inflation Inertia and Credible Disinflation - The Open Economy Case," NBER Working Papers 9557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Coenen, Gunter & Levin, Andrew T. & Christoffel, Kai, 2007. "Identifying the influences of nominal and real rigidities in aggregate price-setting behavior," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2439-2466, November.
    22. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2010. "Empirical and policy performance of a forward‐looking monetary model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 145-176, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary policy - United States; Deflation (Finance);

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:898. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Ryan Wolfslayer ; Keisha Fournillier (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.