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Inflation Dynamics and the Great Recession

  • Sandeep Mazumder
  • Laurence M. Ball

This paper examines inflation dynamics in the United States since 1960, with a particular focus on the Great Recession. A puzzle emerges when Phillips curves estimated over 1960-2007 are ussed to predice inflation over 2008-2010: inflation should have fallen by more than it did. We resolve this puzzle with two modifications of the Phillips curve, both suggested by theories of costly price adjustment: we measure core inflation with the median CPI inflation rate, and we allow the slope of the Phillips curve to change with the level and vairance of inflation. We then examine the hypothesis of anchored inflation expectations. We find that expectations have been fully "shock-anchored" since the 1980s, while "level anchoring" has been gradual and partial, but significant. It is not clear whether expectations are sufficiently anchored to prevent deflation over the next few years. Finally, we show that the Great Recession provides fresh evidence against the New Keynesian Phillips curve with rational expectations.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 11/121.

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Length: 56
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/121
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  1. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins II, 1997. "Efficient Inflation Estimation," NBER Working Papers 6183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kleibergen, Frank & Mavroeidis, Sophocles, 2009. "Weak Instrument Robust Tests in GMM and the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(3), pages 293-311.
  3. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-84, November.
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  5. Emmanuel De Veirman, 2007. "Which nonlinearity in the Phillips curve? The absence of accelerating deflation in Japan," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2007/14, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert J. Gordon, 2011. "The History of the Phillips Curve: Consensus and Bifurcation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(309), pages 10-50, January.
  8. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2010. "The new Keynesian Phillips curve and the cyclicality of marginal cost," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 747-765, September.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  10. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2010. "The role of expectations and output in the inflation process: an empirical assessment," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Guy Debelle & Douglas Laxton, 1997. "Is the Phillips Curve Really a Curve? Some Evidence for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 249-282, June.
  13. Martin Sommer, 2002. "Supply Shocks and the Persistence of Inflation," Economics Working Paper Archive 485, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  14. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Erratum to "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?"," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1849-1849, October.
  15. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff Between Inflation and Unemployment," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1905, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Hooker, Mark A, 2002. "Are Oil Shocks Inflationary? Asymmetric and Nonlinear Specifications versus Changes in Regime," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 540-61, May.
  17. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
  18. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007. "Inflation Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 13147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation persistence in an era of well-anchored inflation expectations," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct13.
  23. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1995. "The Phillips curve is alive and well," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 41-56.
  24. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1993. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
  26. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer, 1988. "The New Keynsesian Economics and the Output-Inflation Trade-off," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 1-82.
  27. Smith, Julie K, 2004. "Weighted Median Inflation: Is This Core Inflation?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 253-63, April.
  28. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, 02.
  29. Jeff Fuhrer & Giovanni Olivei & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 2009. "Empirical estimates of changing inflation dynamics," Working Papers 09-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  30. Fabio Canova, 2009. "Comment to "Weak instruments robust tests in GMM and the New Keynesian Phillips curve" by Frank Kleibergen and Sophocles Mavroeidis," Economics Working Papers 1159, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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