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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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  14. Luca Benati, 2004. "Evolving post-World War II UK economic performance," Bank of England working papers 232, Bank of England.
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  16. Robert Leeson, 1999. "Keynes and the “Keynesian” Phillips Curve," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 493-509, Fall.
  17. Benati, Luca & Surico, Paolo, 2008. "VAR analysis and the Great Moderation," Working Paper Series 0866, European Central Bank.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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