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Three great American disinflations

Author

Listed:
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 15.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    7. Wolfgang Pollan, 2012. "Incomes Policies, Expectations and the NAIRU," WIFO Working Papers 433, WIFO.
    8. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2007. "Stock market booms and monetary policy in the twentieth century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 91-122.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    DSGE Model; Credibility; Deflation;

    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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