IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/24891.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Friedman and Phelps on the Phillips Curve Viewed from a Half Century's Perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

In the late 1960s the stable negatively sloped Phillips Curve (PC) was overturned by the Friedman-Phelps natural rate model. Their PC was vertical in the long run at the natural unemployment rate, and their short-run curve shifted up whenever unemployment was pushed below the natural rate. This paper criticizes the underlying assumption of the Friedman-Phelps approach that the labor market continuously clears and that changes in unemployment down or up occur only in response to “fooling” of workers, firms, or both. A preferable and resolutely Keynesian approach explains quantity rationing by inertia in price and wage setting. The positive correlation of inflation and unemployment in the 1970s and again in the 1990s is explained by joining the negatively sloped Phillips Curve with a positively sloped dynamic demand curve. For any given growth of nominal GDP, higher inflation caused by adverse supply shocks implies slower real GDP growth and higher unemployment. This “triangle” model based on inflation inertia, demand, and supply worked well to explain why inflation and unemployment were both positively and negatively correlated between the 1960s and 1990s, but in the past decade the slope of the short-run Phillips Curve has flattened as inflation exhibited a muted response to high unemployment in 2009-13 and low unemployment in 2016-2018. It remains to be seen whether a continuation of low unemployment will cause a modest and fixed extra amount of inflation, thus reviving the stable Phillips curve of the early 1960s, or whether inflation will continuously accelerate as Friedman and Phelps would have predicted.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gordon, 2018. "Friedman and Phelps on the Phillips Curve Viewed from a Half Century's Perspective," NBER Working Papers 24891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24891
    Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w24891.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Summa & Julia Braga, 2020. "The (conflict-augmented) Phillips Curve is alive and well," Working Papers 0055, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    2. Dennis Bonam & Gabriele Galati & Irma Hindrayanto & Marco Hoeberichts & Anna Samarina & Irina Stanga, 2019. "Inflation in the euro area since the Global Financial Crisis," DNB Occasional Studies 1703, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E64 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Incomes Policy; Price Policy

    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:24891. 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.