IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Falling Behind the Curve: A Positive Analysis of Stop-Start Monetary Policies and the Great Inflation

  • Andrew Levin
  • John B. Taylor

This paper documents the evolution of long-run inflation expectations and models the stance of monetary policy from 1965 to 1980. A host of survey-based measures and financial market data indicate that long-run inflation expectations rose markedly from 1965 to 1969, leveled off in the mid-1970s, and then rose at an alarming pace from 1977 to 1980. While previous studies have shown that the trajectory of the federal funds rate over that period is not well-represented by a Taylor rule with a constant inflation goal, our analysis indicates that the path of policy can be characterized by a reaction function with two breaks in the intercept--in 1970 and 1976--that correspond to discrete shifts in an implicit inflation goal. This reaction function implies that a series of stop-start episodes occurred in 1968-70, 1974-76, and 1979-80. In each episode, policy fell behind the curve by allowing a pickup in inflation before tightening belatedly, and then the subsequent contraction in economic activity led to policy easing before inflation had been brought back down to its previous level. The evidence presented in this paper raises serious doubts about several prominent theories of the Great Inflation and suggests that a simple rule with an explicit inflation goal could serve as a useful benchmark for avoiding its recurrence.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15630.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15630.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Falling Behind the Curve: A Positive Analysis of Stop-Start Monetary Policies and the Great Inflation , Andrew Levin, John B. Taylor. in The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking , Bordo and Orphanides. 2013
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15630
Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Peter N. Ireland, 2005. "Changes in the Federal Reserve's inflation target: causes and consequences," Working Papers 05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 173-224.
  6. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  8. Beyer, Andreas & Farmer, Roger E.A., 2007. "Natural rate doubts," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 797-825, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Stefania Albanesi & V.V.Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2002. "Expectation traps and monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-02-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 983-1022, July.
  12. Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams & Tao Zha, 2006. "Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1193-1224, September.
  13. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Andrew T. Levin & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Does inflation targeting anchor long-run inflation expectations? evidence from long-term bond yields in the U.S., U.K., and Sweden," Working Paper Series 2006-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert, 2004. "The term structure of real rates and expected inflation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  15. Martin Evans & Paul Wachtel, 1993. "Inflation regimes and the sources of inflation uncertainty," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 475-520.
  16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Milton Friedman, 1961. "The Lag in Effect of Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 447.
  18. Andrew T. Levin & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "Is inflation persistence intrinsic in industrial economies?," Working Papers 2002-023, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  19. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2005. "Do Macro Variables, Asset Markets or Surveys Forecast Inflation Better?," NBER Working Papers 11538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Luca Benati, 2008. "Investigating Inflation Persistence Across Monetary Regimes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1005-1060, August.
  21. Bennett T. McCallum, 1996. "Inflation Targeting in Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and in General," NBER Working Papers 5579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1998. "Under What Circumstances, Past and Present, Have International Rescues of Countries in Financial Distress Been Successful?," NBER Working Papers 6824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Dean Croushore, 1997. "The Livingston Survey: still useful after all these years," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 15-27.
  24. Tanya Molodtsova & Alex Nikolsko‐Rzhevskyy & David H. Papell, 2011. "Taylor Rules and the Euro," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 535-552, 03.
  25. Athanasios Orphanides, 2002. "Monetary-Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 115-120, May.
  26. 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.
  27. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2002. "A Rehabilitation of Monetary Policy in the 1950s," NBER Working Papers 8800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
  29. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History," NBER Working Papers 10161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Stacey L. Schreft, 1990. "Credit controls: 1980," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Nov, pages 25-55.
  31. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  32. Weise, Charles L, 2008. "Political constraints on monetary policy during the Great Inflation," MPRA Paper 8694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  33. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15630. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.