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The Phillips Curve Now and Then

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  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

This paper describes the development of the "triangle" model of inflation, which holds that the rate of inflation depends on inertia, demand. and supply. This model differs from most other versions of the Phillips curve by relating inflation directly to the level and rate of change of detrended real output, and by excluding wages, the unemployment rate, and any mention of "expectations." The model identifies the ultimate source of inflation as nominal GNP growth in excess of potential real output growth and implies that a policy rule that targets excess nominal GNP growth is an essential precondition to avoiding an acceleration of inflation, Any residual instability of inflation then depends on the severity of supply shocks. The textbook and econometric versions of the triangle model were developed simultaneously in the mid-1970s. Since then there have been two empirical validations for the U. S. of the model as estimated a decade ago. First, the "sacrifice" ratio of cumulative output loss relative to the decline in inflation during the business slump of the early 1980s was predicted accurately in advance. Second, the natural unemployment rate implied by the model's estimates predicted in advance the slow acceleration of inflation that occurred in began in 1987, when the unemployment rate fell below 6 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Phillips Curve Now and Then," NBER Working Papers 3393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3393
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    1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1990. "Why does money affect output? A survey," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 779-835 Elsevier.
    2. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "After Keynesian macroeconomics," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
    3. Robert J. Gordon & Stephen R. King, 1982. "The Output Cost of Disinflation in Traditional and Vector Autoregressive Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 205-244.
    4. Gordon, Robert J, 1977. "The Theory of Domestic Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 128-134, February.
    5. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "New Classicals and Keynesians, or the Good Guys and the Bad Guys," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 125(III), pages 263-273, September.
    6. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1989. "Assessing the Federal Reserve's Measures of Capacity and Utilization," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 181-242.
    7. George L. Perry, 1970. "Changing Labor Markets and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 411-448.
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    Cited by:

    1. Szafranek, Karol, 2017. "Flattening of the New Keynesian Phillips curve: Evidence for an emerging, small open economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 334-348.
    2. Mengheng Li & Siem Jan (S.J.) Koopman, 2018. "Unobserved Components with Stochastic Volatility in U.S. Inflation: Estimation and Signal Extraction," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-027/III, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Bazhal, Iurii, 2015. "Impact of Wage Policy on Economic Growth in Transitive Countries and New Interpretation of the Phillips Curve," MPRA Paper 67106, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Oct 2015.
    4. Anari, Ali & Kolari, James, 2016. "Dynamics of interest and inflation rates," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 129-144.
    5. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Marinko Škare, 2011. "Employment Growth, Inflation and Output Growth: Was Phillips Right? Evidence from a Dynamic Panel," CESifo Working Paper Series 3502, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Quaas, Georg & Klein, Mathias, 2010. "Der Beitrag alternativer NAIRU-Kurven zur Erklärung der Inflation
      [The Contribution of Alternative NAIRU-curves to the Explanation of Inflation]
      ," MPRA Paper 26176, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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