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Inflation and Activity – Two Explorations and their Monetary Policy Implications


  • Olivier Blanchard
  • Eugenio Cerutti
  • Lawrence Summers


We explore two issues triggered by the crisis. First, in most advanced countries, output remains far below the pre-recession trend, suggesting hysteresis. Second, while inflation has decreased, it has decreased less than anticipated, suggesting a breakdown of the relation between inflation and activity. To examine the first, we look at 122 recessions over the past 50 years in 23 countries. We find that a high proportion of them have been followed by lower output or even lower growth. To examine the second, we estimate a Phillips curve relation over the past 50 years for 20 countries. We find that the effect of unemployment on inflation, for given expected inflation, decreased until the early 1990s, but has remained roughly stable since then. We draw implications of our findings for monetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Blanchard & Eugenio Cerutti & Lawrence Summers, 2015. "Inflation and Activity – Two Explorations and their Monetary Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 21726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21726
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-472, May.
    2. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jean-Paul L'Huillier & Guido Lorenzoni, 2013. "News, Noise, and Fluctuations: An Empirical Exploration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 3045-3070, December.
    3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Is the Phillips Curve Alive and Well after All? Inflation Expectations and the Missing Disinflation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 197-232, January.
    4. Valerie Cerra & Sweta Chaman Saxena, 2008. "Growth Dynamics: The Myth of Economic Recovery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 439-457, March.
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    6. Matheson, Troy & Stavrev, Emil, 2013. "The Great Recession and the inflation puzzle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 468-472.
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    8. Paul Beaudry & Dana Galizia & Franck Portier, 2018. "Reconciling Hayek’s and Keynes’ Views of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 119-156.
    9. Ramírez, Carlos D., 2009. "Bank fragility, "money under the mattress", and long-run growth: US evidence from the "perfect" Panic of 1893," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2185-2198, December.
    10. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2003. "Economic growth, liquidity, and bank runs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 220-245, April.
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    12. Laurence Ball, 2014. "Long-term damage from the Great Recession in OECD countries," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 149-160, September.
    13. Michal Andrle & Jan Bruha & Serhat Solmaz, 2013. "Inflation and Output Comovement in the Euro Area; Love at Second Sight?," IMF Working Papers 13/192, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Luc Laeven & Fabián Valencia, 2013. "Systemic Banking Crises Database," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(2), pages 225-270, June.
    15. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Pau Rabanal & Christopher W. Crowe & Deniz O Igan, 2011. "Policies for Macrofinancial Stability; Options to Deal with Real Estate Booms," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 11/02, International Monetary Fund.
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    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General

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