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The NAIRU in Theory and Practice

  • Laurence Ball
  • N. Gregory Mankiw

This paper discusses the NAIRU - the non-accelerating inflation rate unemployment. It first considers the role of the NAIRU concept in business cycle theory, arguing that this concept is implicit in any model in which monetary policy influences both inflation and unemployment. The exact value of the NAIRU is hard to measure, however, in part because it changes over time. The paper then discusses why the NAIRU changes and, in particular, why it fell in the United States during the 1990s. The most promising hypothesis is that the decline in the NAIRU is attributable to the acceleration in productivity growth.

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File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2002/HIER1963.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1963.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1963
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  1. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. D. Grubb & R. Jackman & R. Layard, 1982. "Causes of the Current Stagflation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(5), pages 707-730.
  3. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Impact of Young Workers on the Aggregate Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 969-1007.
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  6. Edmund S. Phelps, 1968. "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor-Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 678.
  7. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-rationality and inflation in two monetary regimes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1985. "A Near-Rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Inertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 823-838.
  10. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  11. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
  13. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1996. "Nobel Lecture: Monetary Neutrality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 661-82, August.
  15. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203.
  16. Katharine G. Abraham, 1987. "Help-Wanted Advertising, Job Vacancies, and Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 207-248.
  17. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  18. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  19. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  20. Gray, Jo Anna, 1976. "Wage indexation: A macroeconomic approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 221-235, April.
  21. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, June.
  22. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  23. Sargent, Thomas J, 1971. "A Note on the 'Accelerationist' Controversy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 721-25, August.
  24. Joseph Stiglitz, 1997. "Reflections on the Natural Rate Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, Winter.
  25. George L. Perry, 1970. "Changing Labor Markets and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 411-448.
  26. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Steven Braun, 1984. "Productivity and the NIIRU (and other Phillips curve issues)," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  28. Laurence Ball, 1999. "Aggregate demand and Long-Run Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 189-252.
  29. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
  30. Barro, Robert J, 1977. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 101-15, March.
  31. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2001. "The Rise in Disability Recipiency and the Decline in Unemployment," JCPR Working Papers 226, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  32. Laurence Ball & Robert Moffitt, 2001. "Productivity Growth and the Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1982. "Monopolistic Price Adjustment and Aggregate Output," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 517-531.
  34. John M. Roberts, 1998. "Inflation expectations and the transmission of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  35. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  36. K. W. Rothschild, 1982. "Stagflation," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 8(2), pages 183-194.
  37. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
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