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Model Uncertainty and the Direction of Fit of the Postwar U.S. Phillips Curve(s)

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  • Francesca Rondina

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

Abstract

This paper proposes a model uncertainty framework that accounts for the uncertainty about both the specification of the Phillips curve and the identification assumption to be used for parameter estimation. More specifically, the paper extends the framework employed by Cogley and Sargent (2005) to incorporate uncertainty over the direction of fit of the Phillips curve. I first study the evolution of the model posterior probabilities, which can be interpreted as a measure of the econometrician's real-time beliefs over the prevailing model of the Phillips curve. I then characterize the optimal policy rule within each model, and I analyze alternative policy recommendations that incorporate model uncertainty. As expected, different directions of fit of the same model of the Phillips curve imply very different optimal policy choices, with the “Classical” specifications typically suggesting low and stable optimal inflation rates. I also find that allowing rational agents to incorporate model uncertainty in their expectations does not change the optimal or robust policies. On the other hand, I show that the models' fit to the data and the robust policy recommendations are affected by the specific price index that is used to measure in inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Rondina, 2017. "Model Uncertainty and the Direction of Fit of the Postwar U.S. Phillips Curve(s)," Working Papers 1702E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1702e
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas J. Sargent & Noah Williams, 2005. "Impacts of Priors on Convergence and Escapes from Nash Inflation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 360-391, April.
    2. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policy-Makers' Beliefs and U. S. Postwar Stabilization Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 867-901.
    3. Timothy Cogley & Riccardo Colacito & Thomas J. Sargent, 2007. "Benefits from U.S. Monetary Policy Experimentation in the Days of Samuelson and Solow and Lucas," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 67-99, February.
    4. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "The conquest of US inflation: Learning and robustness to model uncertainty," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 528-563, April.
    5. Friedrich, Christian, 2016. "Global inflation dynamics in the post-crisis period: What explains the puzzles?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 31-34.
    6. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Williams, Noah, 2006. "Bayesian and adaptive optimal policy under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Olivier J Blanchard & Eugenio M Cerutti & Lawrence Summers, 2015. "Inflation and Activity – Two Explorations and their Monetary Policy Implications," IMF Working Papers 15/230, International Monetary Fund.
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    11. Sargent, Thomas J, 1976. "The Observational Equivalence of Natural and Unnatural Rate Theories of Macroeconomics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 631-640, June.
    12. Olivier J. Blanchard, 2016. "The US Phillips Curve: Back to the 60s?," Policy Briefs PB16-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    13. 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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    15. Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams & Tao Zha, 2006. "Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1193-1224, September.
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    17. Conway, Roger K. & Gill, Gurmukh, 1991. "Is the Phillips curve stable? A time-varying parameter approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 141-151.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Phillips curve; Model Uncertainty; Robust Policy; Bayesian Model Averaging; Expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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