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Monetary policy neglect and the Great Inflation in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

  • Edward Nelson

This paper studies the Great Inflation in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Newspaper coverage and policymakers' statements are used to analyze the views on the inflation process that led to the 1970s macroeconomic policies, and the different movement in each country away from 1970s views. I argue that to understand the course of policy in each country, it is crucial to use the monetary policy neglect hypothesis, which claims that the Great Inflation occurred because policymakers delegated inflation control to nonmonetary devices. This hypothesis helps explain why, unlike Canada, Australia and New Zealand continued to suffer high inflation in the mid-1980s. The delayed disinflation in these countries reflected the continuing importance accorded to nonmonetary views of inflation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2004-008.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Journal of Central Banking, June 2005, 1(1), pp. 133-79
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2004-008
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  1. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  2. P. D. Jonson, 1973. "Our Current Inflationary Experience," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 6(2), pages 21-26.
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  4. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
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  8. Nelson Edward, 2005. "The Great Inflation of the Seventies: What Really Happened?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-50, July.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 6126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Laidler, D., 1989. "Dow And Saville'S Critique On Monetary Policy- A Review Essay," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8901, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  12. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Amit Kara & Edward Nelson, 2004. "International Evidence on the Stability of the Optimizing IS Equation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(s1), pages 687-712, 09.
  14. 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.
  15. Angela Huang & Dimitri Margaritis & David Mayes, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Evidence from New Zealand," Multinational Finance Journal, Multinational Finance Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 175-200, September.
  16. David Gruen & Tim Robinson & Andrew Stone, 2002. "Output Gaps in Real Time: Are They Reliable Enough to Use for Monetary Policy?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2002-06, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  17. David Gruen & Geoffrey Shuetrim, 1994. "Internationalisation and the Macroeconomy," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Philip Lowe & Jacqueline Dwyer (ed.), International Intergration of the Australian Economy Reserve Bank of Australia.
  18. Guy Debelle, 1996. "The Ends of Three Small Inflations: Australia, New Zealand and Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(1), pages 56-78, March.
  19. Orden, David & Fisher, Lance A, 1993. "Financial Deregulation and the Dynamics of Money, Prices, and Output in New Zealand and Australia," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 273-92, May.
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