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Does the labour share of income drive inflation?

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  • Jeremy Rudd
  • Karl Whelan

Abstract

Woodford (2001) has presented evidence that the new-Keynesian Phillips curve fits the empirical behavior of inflation well when the labor income share is used as a driving variable, but fits poorly when deterministically detrended output is used. He concludes that the output gap - the deviation between actual and potential output - is better captured by the labor income share, in turn implying that central banks should raise interest rates in response to increases in the labor share. We show that the empirical evidence generally suggests that the labor share version of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve is a very poor model of price inflation. We conclude that there is little reason to view the labor income share as a good measure of the output gap, or as an appropriate variable for incorporation in a monetary policy rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Rudd & Karl Whelan, 2002. "Does the labour share of income drive inflation?," Open Access publications 10197/233, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:oapubs:10197/233
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/233
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2005. "New tests of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1167-1181, September.
    2. Michael Woodford, 2001. "The Taylor Rule and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 232-237, May.
    3. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The Case for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sbordone, Argia M., 2002. "Prices and unit labor costs: a new test of price stickiness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 265-292, March.
    5. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
    6. Argia M. Sbordone, 2002. "An optimizing model of U.S. wage and price dynamics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    7. Rotemberg, Julio J. & Woodford, Michael, 1999. "The cyclical behavior of prices and costs," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1051-1135 Elsevier.
    8. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-159.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paloviita, Maritta, 2008. "Dynamics of inflation expectations in the euro area," Scientific Monographs, Bank of Finland, number 40/2008, January.
    2. Jeremy Rudd & Karl Whelan, 2006. "Can Rational Expectations Sticky-Price Models Explain Inflation Dynamics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 303-320, March.
    3. Gerard O'Reilly & Karl Whelan, 2005. "Has Euro-Area Inflation Persistence Changed Over Time?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 709-720, November.
    4. Kuttner, Ken & Robinson, Tim, 2010. "Understanding the flattening Phillips curve," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 110-125, August.
    5. Wallis, Kenneth F., 2004. "Comparing empirical models of the euro economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 735-758, September.
    6. Coenen, Gunter, 2007. "Inflation persistence and robust monetary policy design," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 111-140, January.
    7. Paloviita, Maritta, 2005. "The role of expectations in euro area inflation dynamics," Scientific Monographs, Bank of Finland, number 2005_032, January.
    8. Peter Tillmann, 2009. "The New Keynesian Phillips curve in Europe: does it fit or does it fail?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 463-473, December.
    9. William Baeza L. & Pablo García., 2003. "Medidas Alternativas de Brechas en Modelos de Inflación," Notas de Investigación Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 6(2), pages 77-94, August.
    10. Nuno Alves, 2004. "A Flexible View on Prices," Working Papers w200406, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    11. Holmberg, Karolina, 2006. "Derivation and Estimation of a New Keynesian Phillips Curve in a Small Open Economy," Working Paper Series 197, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).

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