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Core Inflation and Trend Inflation

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  • James H. Stock
  • Mark W. Watson

Abstract

An important input to monetary policymaking is estimating the current level of inflation. This paper examines empirically whether the measurement of trend inflation can be improved by using disaggregated data on sectoral inflation to construct indexes akin to core inflation, but with time-varying distributed lags of weights, where the sectoral weight depends on the time-varying volatility and persistence of the sectoral inflation series, and on the comovement among sectors. The model is estimated using U.S. data on 17 components of the personal consumption expenditure inflation index. The modeling framework is a dynamic factor model with time-varying coefficients and stochastic volatility as in del Negro and Otrok (2008); this is the multivariate extension of the univariate unobserved components-stochastic volatility model of trend inflation in Stock and Watson (2007). Our main empirical results are (i) the resulting multivariate estimate of trend inflation is similar to the univariate estimate of trend inflation computed using core PCE inflation (excluding food and energy) in the first half of the sample, but introduces food in the second half of the sample: early in the sample, food inflation was noisy and a poor indicator of trend inflation, but now food inflation is less volatile, more persistent, and a useful indicator; (ii) the model-based filtering uncertainty about trend inflation is substantially reduced by using the disaggregated series in a multivariate model, relative to computing the trend using only headline inflation; (iii) the multivariate trend and the univariate trend constructed using core measures of inflation forecast average inflation over the 1-3 year horizon more accurately than a variety of other benchmark inflation measures, although there is considerable sampling uncertainty in these forecast comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2015. "Core Inflation and Trend Inflation," NBER Working Papers 21282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21282
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Fed: From forward guidance to data dependence
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2015-12-14 19:45:45

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2017. "Output gains from accelerating core inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 63-74.
    2. Cobb, Marcus P A, 2018. "Improving Underlying Scenarios for Aggregate Forecasts: A Multi-level Combination Approach," MPRA Paper 88593, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Cobb, Marcus P A, 2017. "Joint Forecast Combination of Macroeconomic Aggregates and Their Components," MPRA Paper 76556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jose Luis Nolazco & Pablo Pincheira & Jorge Selaive, 2016. "The evasive predictive ability of core inflation," Working Papers 15/34, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    5. Tallman, Ellis W. & Zaman, Saeed, 2017. "Forecasting inflation: Phillips curve effects on services price measures," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 442-457.
    6. Egorov D.A. (Егоров, Д.А.) & Perevyshina E.A. (Перевышина, Е.А.), 2016. "Modelling of Inflationary Processes in Russia
      [Моделирование Инфляционных Процессов В России]
      ," Working Papers 2138, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    7. Manopimoke, Pym & Limjaroenrat, Vorada, 2017. "Trend inflation estimates for Thailand from disaggregated data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 75-94.
    8. Forbes, Kristin & Kirkham, Lewis & Theodoridis, Konstantinos, 2017. "A trendy approach to UK inflation dynamics," Discussion Papers 49, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
    9. repec:eee:macchp:v2-415 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:bpj:bejmac:v:17:y:2017:i:1:p:42:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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