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Oil Price Shocks; Can they Account for the Stagflation in the 1970's?


  • Benjamin L Hunt


Using a variant of the IMF's Global Economy Model (GEM), featuring energy as both an intermediate input into production and a final consumption good, this paper examines the macroeconomic implications of large increases in the price of energy. Within a fully optimizing framework with nominal and real rigidities arising from costly adjustment, large increases in energy prices can generate an inflation response similar to that seen in the 1970s if the monetary authority misperceives the economy's supply capacity and workers resist the erosion in their real consumption wages resulting from the price increase. In the absence of either of these two responses, the model suggests that energy price shocks cannot generate the type of stagflation witnessed in the 1970s. Further, even allowing for these two effects, the results do not suggest that the increase in the price of oil in late 1973 and early 1974 can fully explain the extent of the slowing in real activity or the magnitude of the acceleration in inflation experienced in the United States in 1974 and 1975.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin L Hunt, 2005. "Oil Price Shocks; Can they Account for the Stagflation in the 1970's?," IMF Working Papers 05/215, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/215

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
    2. Armstrong, John & Black, Richard & Laxton, Douglas & Rose, David, 1998. "A robust method for simulating forward-looking models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 489-501, April.
    3. Benjamin Hunt & Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton, 2002. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Higher Oil Prices," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 179(1), pages 87-103, January.
    4. Athanasios Orphanides, 2000. "Activist stabilization policy and inflation: the Taylor rule in the 1970s," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Laxton, Douglas & Pesenti, Paolo, 2003. "Monetary rules for small, open, emerging economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1109-1146, July.
    6. Backus, David K. & Crucini, Mario J., 2000. "Oil prices and the terms of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 185-213, February.
    7. Burstein, Ariel T. & Neves, Joao C. & Rebelo, Sergio, 2003. "Distribution costs and real exchange rate dynamics during exchange-rate-based stabilizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1189-1214, September.
    8. Kim, In-Moo & Loungani, Prakash, 1992. "The role of energy in real business cycle models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 173-189, April.
    9. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2002. "Macroeconomics of international price discrimination," International Finance Discussion Papers 744, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1995. "Putty-clay capital and energy," Working Papers 548, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    11. Juillard, Michel & Laxton, Douglas & McAdam, Peter & Pioro, Hope, 1998. "An algorithm competition: First-order iterations versus Newton-based techniques," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1291-1318, August.
    12. Knut Anton Mork & Robert E. Hall, 1980. "Energy Prices, Inflation, and Recession, 1974-1975," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 31-64.
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Laxton & Andrew Berg & Philippe D Karam, 2006. "A Practical Model-Based Approach to Monetary Policy Analysis—Overview," IMF Working Papers 06/80, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Pascal Jacquinot & Mika Kuismanen & Ricardo Mestre & Martin Spitzer, 2009. "An Assessment of the Inflationary Impact of Oil Shocks in the Euro Area," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 49-84.
    3. Shekhar Aiyar & Ivan Tchakarov, 2008. "Much Ado About Nothing? Estimating the Impact of a U.S. Slowdown on Thai Growth," IMF Working Papers 08/140, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item


    Economic models; Monetary policy; Oil crisis; Oil prices shocks; inflation; intermediate goods; elasticity of substitution; price level;

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