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The Expectations Trap Hypothesis

  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Christopher J. Gust

We explore a hypothesis about the take-off in inflation that occurred in the early 1970s. According to the expectations trap hypothesis, the Fed was pushed into producing the high inflation out of a fear of violating the public's inflation expectations. We compare this hypothesis with the Phillips curve hypothesis, according to which the Fed produced the high inflation as an unfortunate by-product of a conscious decision to jump-start a weak economy. Which hypothesis is more plausible has important implications for what needs to be done to prevent other inflation flare-ups.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7809.

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Date of creation: Jul 2000
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Publication status: published as Christiano, Lawrence J. and Christopher Gust. "The Expectations Trap Hypothesis," FRB Chicago - Economic Perspectives, 2000, v24(2,Second-Qtr), 21-39.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7809
Note: EFG
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  1. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher J. Gust, 1999. "Taylor Rules in a Limited Participation Model," NBER Working Papers 7017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 1999. "The Reliability of Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Macroeconomics 9907006, EconWPA.
  4. Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
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  6. Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. William Kerr & Robert G. King, 1996. "Limits on interest rate rules in the IS model," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 47-75.
  8. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectations, traps and discretion," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2000. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Working Papers 7940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  11. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1, May.
  12. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, May.
  13. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. St-Amant, P. & van Norden, S., 1997. "Measurement of the Output Gap: A Discussion of Recent Research at the Bank of Canada," Technical Reports 79, Bank of Canada.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2000. "Understanding the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 7668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Modeling money," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
  18. 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.
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