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Structural estimates of the U.S. sacrifice ratio

  • Stephen G. Cecchetti
  • Robert W. Rich

This paper investigates the statistical properties of the U.S. sacrifice ratio -- the cumulative output loss arising from a permanent reduction in inflation. We derive estimates of the sacrifice ratio from three structural VAR models and then conduct Monte Carlo simulations to analyze their sampling distribution. While the point estimates of the sacrifice ratio confirm the results reported in earlier studies, we find that the estimates are very imprecise and that the degree of imprecision increases with the complexity of the model used. That is, increases in the number of structural shocks widen our confidence intervals. We conclude that the estimates provide a very unreliable guide for assessing the output cost of a disinflation policy.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 71.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:71
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  1. Rudiger Dornbusch & Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Moderate Inflation," NBER Working Papers 3896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "Stopping moderate inflations: the methods of Poincaré and Thatcher," Working Papers 1, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Taylor, John B, 1983. "Union Wage Settlements during a Disinflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 981-93, December.
  7. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Inflation and growth," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 153-169.
  8. A. R. Pagan & J. C. Robertson, 1998. "Structural Models Of The Liquidity Effect," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 202-217, May.
  9. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1995. "The persistence of inflation and the cost of disinflation," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 3-16.
  10. Gali, Jordi, 1992. "How Well Does the IS-LM Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 709-38, May.
  11. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  12. Okun, Arthur M, 1978. "Efficient Disinflationary Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 348-52, May.
  13. Robert J. Gordon & Stephen R. King, 1982. "The Output Cost of Disinflation in Traditional and Vector Autoregressive Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 205-244.
  14. Andrew J. Filardo, 1998. "New evidence on the output cost of fighting inflation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III.
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