IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/14563.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Supply-Shock Explanation of the Great Stagflation Revisited

Author

Listed:
  • Alan S. Blinder
  • Jeremy B. Rudd

Abstract

U.S. inflation data exhibit two notable spikes into the double-digit range in 1973-1974 and again in 1978-1980. The well-known "supply-shock" explanation attributes both spikes to large food and energy shocks plus, in the case of 1973-1974, the removal of price controls. Yet critics of this explanation have (a) attributed the surges in inflation to monetary policy and (b) pointed to the far smaller impacts of more recent oil shocks as evidence against the supply-shock explanation. This paper reexamines the impacts of the supply shocks of the 1970s in the light of the new data, new events, new theories, and new econometric studies that have accumulated over the past quarter century. We find that the classic supply-shock explanation holds up very well; in particular, neither data revisions nor updated econometric estimates substantially change the evaluations of the 1972-1983 period that were made 25 years (or more) ago. We also rebut several variants of the claim that monetary policy, rather than supply shocks, was really to blame for the inflation spikes. Finally, we examine several changes in the economy that may explain why the impacts of oil shocks are so much smaller now than they were in the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan S. Blinder & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2008. "The Supply-Shock Explanation of the Great Stagflation Revisited," NBER Working Papers 14563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14563 Note: DAE EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14563.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, October.
    2. Laurence Ball & Robert Moffitt, 2001. "Productivity Growth and the Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Mark Watson, 1997. "Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 91-157.
    4. Balke, Nathan S. & Wynne, Mark A., 2000. "An equilibrium analysis of relative price changes and aggregate inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 269-292, April.
    5. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
    6. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
    7. Taylor, John B., 1981. "On the relation between the variability of inflation and the average inflation rate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 57-85, January.
    8. Alan S. Blinder, 1982. "The Anatomy of Double-Digit Inflation in the 1970s," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 261-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
    10. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Inflation And The Distribution Of Price Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 188-196, May.
    11. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
    12. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 550-577, November.
    13. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-1069, June.
    14. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Price Shocks: Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s?," NBER Chapters,in: International Dimensions of Monetary Policy, pages 373-421 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    16. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
    17. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S., 2006. "Oil Prices, Monetary Policy, and Counterfactual Experiments," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1945-1958, October.
    18. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
    19. Laurence M. Ball, 2006. "Has Globalization Changed Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 12687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Leduc, Sylvain & Sill, Keith, 2004. "A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 781-808, May.
    21. Gordon, Robert J, 1982. "Price Inertia and Policy Ineffectiveness in the United States, 1890-1980," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1087-1117, December.
    22. Hamilton, James D & Herrera, Ana Maria, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 265-286, April.
    23. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s So Different from the 1970s?," NBER Working Papers 13368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Burton A. Abrams, 2006. "How Richard Nixon Pressured Arthur Burns: Evidence from the Nixon Tapes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-188, Fall.
    25. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
    26. Blinder, Alan S. & Newton, William J., 1981. "The 1971-1974 controls program and the price level : An econometric post-mortem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-23.
    27. James L. Pierce & Jared J. Enzler, 1974. "The Effects of External Inflationary Shocks," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 5(1), pages 13-62.
    28. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Phelps, Edmund S, 1978. "Commodity-Supply Shock and Full-Employment Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 206-221, May.
    30. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship: Reply," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 221-222, October.
    31. Blinder, Alan S, 1981. "Monetary Accommodation of Supply Shocks under Rational Expectations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 13(4), pages 425-438, November.
    32. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-248, April.
    33. Bernanke, Ben S & Gertler, Mark & Watson, Mark W, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Reply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 287-291, April.
    34. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, January.
    35. Robert J. Gordon, 1977. "Can the Inflation of the 1970s be Explained?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 253-279.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman & Ine Van Robays, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of Oil Shocks: Differences across Countries and Time," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Röger, Werner & Székely, Istvan P. & Turrini, Alessandro Antonio, 2010. "Banking crises, Output Loss and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7815, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Kallis, Giorgos & Sager, Jalel, 2017. "Oil and the economy: A systematic review of the literature for ecological economists," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 561-571.
    4. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon-Lane, 2014. "Does Expansionary Monetary Policy Cause Asset Price Booms? Some Historical and Empirical Evidence," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Sofía Bauducco & Lawrence Christiano & Claudio Raddatz (ed.), Macroeconomic and Financial Stability: challenges for Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 19, chapter 3, pages 61-116 Central Bank of Chile.
    5. repec:zbw:espost:157791 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Menzie D. Chinn & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "The Predictive Content of Commodity Futures," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(7), pages 607-636, July.
    7. Carlos Garcia, 2012. "Impacto del Costo de la Energía Eléctrica en la Economía Chilena: Una Perspectiva Macroeconómica," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv281, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    8. Werner Roeger & Jan in 't Veld, 2009. "Fiscal policy with credit constrained households," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 357, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    9. James D. Hamilton, 2009. "Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 215-283.
    10. Huntington, Hillard G., 2015. "Crude oil trade and current account deficits," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 70-79.
    11. Etsuro Shioji & Taisuke Uchino, 2011. "Pass-Through of Oil Prices to Japanese Domestic Prices," NBER Chapters,in: Commodity Prices and Markets, East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 20, pages 155-189 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Davide Furceri & Prakash Loungani & John Simon & Susan M. Wachter, 2016. "Global food prices and domestic inflation: some cross-country evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 665-687.
    13. Dedeoğlu, Dinçer & Kaya, Hüseyin, 2014. "Pass-through of oil prices to domestic prices: Evidence from an oil-hungry but oil-poor emerging market," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 67-74.
    14. repec:eee:energy:v:130:y:2017:i:c:p:204-217 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Pittaluga, Giovanni Battista & Seghezza, Elena, 2012. "The Great Inflation in Italy: A Political Economy View - La Grande Inflazione in Italia: un’interpretazione alla luce della political economy," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 65(1), pages 65-81.
    16. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
    17. Özbek, Levent & Özlale, Ümit, 2010. "Analysis of real oil prices via trend-cycle decomposition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3676-3683, July.
    18. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2015. "Still About Oil?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 49-79.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14563. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.