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Three great American disinflations

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  • Bordo, Michael D.
  • Erceg, Christopher
  • Levin, Andrew
  • Michaels, Ryan

Abstract

In this paper, we examine three famous episodes of deliberate deflation (or disinflation) in U.S. history, including episodes following the Civil War, World War I, and the Volcker disinflation of the early 1980s. These episodes were associated with widely divergent effects on the real economy, which we attribute both to differences in the policy actions undertaken, and to the transparency and credibility of the monetary authorities. We attempt to account for the salient features of each episode within the context of a stylized DSGE model. Our model simulations indicate how a more predictable policy of gradual deflation could have helped avoid the sharp post-WWI depression. But our analysis also suggests that the strong argument for gradualism under a transparent monetary regime becomes less persuasive if the monetary authority lacks credibility; in this case, an aggressive policy stance (as under Volcker) can play a useful signalling role by making a policy shift more apparent to private agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Bordo, Michael D. & Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew & Michaels, Ryan, 2006. "Three great American disinflations," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/05, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200705
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 910-945, December.
    2. Bordo, Michael D. & Haubrich, Joseph G., 2010. "Credit crises, money and contractions: An historical view," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-18, January.
    3. Michael Bordo & Pierre Siklos, 2014. "Central Bank Credibility, Reputation and Inflation Targeting in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 20693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Laidler, 2007. "Successes and Failures of Monetary Policy Since the 1950s," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20072, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
    5. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    6. N. N., 2012. "Incomes Policies, Expectations and the NAIRU," WIFO Working Papers 433, WIFO.
    7. Collard, Fabrice & Fève, Patrick & Matheron, Julien, 2007. "The Dynamic Effects of Disinflation Policies," IDEI Working Papers 426, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    8. Reicher, Christopher Phillip, 2009. "What can a New Keynesian labor matching model match?," Kiel Working Papers 1496, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    9. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon-Lane, 2010. "Exits from Recessions: The U.S. Experience 1920-2007," NBER Working Papers 15731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup & Anastasia Zhutova, 2015. "Labor Market Policies and the "Missing Deflation" Puzzle: Lessons from Hoover Policies during the U.S Great Depression," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 15.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    11. Elmar Mertens, 2016. "Managing Beliefs about Monetary Policy under Discretion," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(4), pages 661-698, June.
    12. Patrick Newman, 2016. "The depression of 1920–1921: a credit induced boom and a market based recovery?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 387-414, December.
    13. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2007. "Stock market booms and monetary policy in the twentieth century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 89(Mar), pages 91-122.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    DSGE Model; Credibility; Deflation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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