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An overhaul of doctrine: the underpinning of U.K. inflation targeting

  • Edward Nelson

This paper argues that the inflation targeting regime prevailing in the United Kingdom is not the result of a change in policymaker objectives. By conducting an analysis of U.K. policymakers that parallels Romer and Romer’s (2004) study of Federal Reserve Chairmen, I demonstrate that policymaker objectives have been essentially unchanged over the past five decades. Instead, the crucial underpinning of U.K. inflation targeting has been an overhaul of doctrine—a changed view of the transmission mechanism. This overhaul can be understood in terms of changes in policymakers’ views on the values of a few key parameters in their specifications of the economy’s IS and Phillips curves. Specifically, the changed views pertain to the issues of whether interest rates enter the IS equation, and the extent of policymaker influence on those rates; whether the level of the output gap appears in the Phillips curve when the gap is negative; and whether a speed-limit term matters for inflation dynamics. Contrary to conventional wisdom, changing views on the expected-inflation term in the Phillips curve do not play a role.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2007-026.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-026
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  1. Edward Nelson & Kalin Nikolov, 2002. "Monetary policy and stagflation in the UK," Bank of England working papers 155, Bank of England.
  2. 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.).
  3. Edward Nelson, 2004. "The Great Inflation of the seventies: what really happened?," Working Papers 2004-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Gordon T. Pepper, CBE & Michael J. Oliver, 2001. "Monetarism Under Thatcher," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2358, March.
  5. Mervyn King, 1996. "How should central banks reduce inflation? conceptual issues," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 53-91.
  6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  7. Luca Benati & Paolo Surico, 2009. "VAR Analysis and the Great Moderation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  10. Luca Benati, 2003. "Evolving Post-World War II U.K. Economic Performance," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 171, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. Robert Leeson, 1999. "Keynes and the “Keynesian” Phillips Curve," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 493-509, Fall.
  12. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 129-162, Winter.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Laidler, David, 1989. "Dow and Saville's Critique of Monetary Policy--A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1147-59, September.
  15. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2002. "The Evolution of Economic Understanding and Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 9274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Luca Benati, 2008. "The "Great Moderation" in the United Kingdom," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 121-147, 02.
  18. John C. B. Cooper, 2004. "Dollarisation in Theory and Practice," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(4), pages 79-89, October.
  19. Charles Bean, 2005. "Monetary Policy in an Uncertain World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(1), pages 31-53, January.
  20. Nelson, Edward, 2001. "What Does the UK's Monetary Policy and Inflation Experience Tell Us About the Transmission Mechanism?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Julio 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.
  22. Mervyn King, 1999. "Challenges for monetary policy : new and old," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 11-57.
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