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Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s? A structural interpretation of changes in the macroeconomic effects of oil prices

  • Olivier J. Blanchard
  • Marianna Riggi

In the 1970s, large increases in the price of oil were associated with sharp decreases in output and large increases in inflation. In the 2000s, and at least until the end of 2007, even larger increases in the price of oil were associated with much milder movements in output and inflation. Using a structural VAR approach Blanchard and Gali (2007a) argued that this has reflected in large part a change in the causal relation from the price of oil to output and inflation. In order to shed light on the possible factors behind the decrease in the macroeconomic effects of oil price shocks, we develop a new-Keynesian model, with imported oil used both in production and consumption, and we use a minimum distance estimator that minimizes, over the set of structural parameters and for each of the two samples (pre and post 1984), the distance between the empirical SVAR-based impulse response functions and those implied by the model. Our results point to two relevant changes in the structure of the economy, which have modified the transmission mechanism of the oil shock: vanishing wage indexation and an improvement in the credibility of monetary policy. The relative importance of these two structural changes depends however on how we formalize the process of expectations formation by economic agents.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15467.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Publication status: published as Olivier J. Blanchard & Marianna Riggi, 2013. "WHY ARE THE 2000s SO DIFFERENT FROM THE 1970s? A STRUCTURAL INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN THE MACROECONOMIC EFFECTS OF OIL PRICES," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1032-1052, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15467
Note: EFG IFM
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
  3. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2010. "Do Expectations Matter? The Great Moderation Revisited," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 183-205, July.
  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  5. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jean Boivin & Marc Giannoni, 2002. "Assessing changes in the monetary transmission mechanism: a VAR approach," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 97-111.
  7. Canova, Fabio & Gambetti, Luca, 2009. "Structural changes in the US economy: Is there a role for monetary policy?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 477-490, February.
  8. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 5634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
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