The Fed's Real Reaction Function: Monetary Policy, Inflation, Unemployment, Inequality-and Presidential Politics
Using a VAR model of the American economy from 1984 to 2003, we find that, contrary to official claims, the Federal Reserve does not target inflation or react to "inflation signals." Rather, the Fed reacts to the very "real" signal sent by unemployment, in a way that suggests that a baseless fear of full employment is a principal force behind monetary policy. Tests of variations in the workings of a Taylor Rule, using dummy variable regressions, on data going back to 1969 suggest that after 1983 the Federal Reserve largely ceased reacting to inflation or high unemployment, but continued to react when unemployment fell "too low." Further, we find that monetary policy (measured by the yield curve) has significant causal impact on pay inequality-a domain where the Fed refuses responsibility. Finally, we test whether Federal Reserve policy has exhibited a pattern of partisan bias in presidential election years, with results that suggest the presence of such bias, after controlling for the effects of inflation and unemployment.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992.
"Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1996.
"The Time-Varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy,"
NBER Working Papers
5735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1997. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 11-32, Winter.
- Gordon, Robert J, 1996. "The Time-varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1492, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- James A. Dorn, 2003. "Introduction," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 23(1), pages 1-9, Spring/Su.
- Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986.
"A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
- Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
- Jurgen A Doornik & Henrik Hansen, .
"An omnibus test for univariate and multivariate normalit,"
W4&91., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Jurgen A. Doornik & Henrik Hansen, 2008. "An Omnibus Test for Univariate and Multivariate Normality," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(s1), pages 927-939, December.
- Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
- Galbraith James K. & Hale J. Travis, 2006. "American Inequality: From IT Bust to Big Government Boom," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(8), pages 1-4, October.
- Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
- Burton Abrams & Plamen Iossifov, 2006. "Does the Fed Contribute to a Political Business Cycle?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 249-262, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_511. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie-Celeste Edwards)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.