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Inflation Dynamics and the Great Recession

  • Laurence Ball
  • Sandeep Mazumder

This paper examines inflation dynamics in the Unites States since 1960, with a particular focus on the Great Recession. A puzzle emerges when Phillips curves estimated over 1960- 2007 are used to predict 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 variance 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 The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 580.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:580
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  1. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
  2. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Emmanuel De Veirman, 2007. "Which Nonlinearity in the Phillips Curve? The Absence of Accelerating Deflation in Japan," Economics Working Paper Archive 536, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  6. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins II, 1997. "Efficient inflation estimation," Working Paper 9707, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Laurence Ball, 1993. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Working Papers 4306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Mankiw, N Gregory, 2001. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff between Inflation and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C45-61, May.
  14. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  16. 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.
  17. DeFina, Robert H, 1991. "International Evidence on a New Keynesian Theory of the Output-Inflation Trade-Off," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 410-22, August.
  18. Jeff Fuhrer & Giovanni Olivei & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 2009. "Empirical estimates of changing inflation dynamics," Working Papers 09-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  19. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Martin Sommer, 2004. "Supply Shocks and the Persistence of Inflation," Macroeconomics 0408005, EconWPA.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  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. Sandeep Mazumder, 2008. "The New Keynesian Phillips Curve and the Cyclicality of Marginal Cost," Economics Working Paper Archive 545, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  25. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007. "Inflation Dynamics," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 317-334, December.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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