The Great Inflation Drift

30 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2009 Last revised: 23 Jul 2012

See all articles by Marvin Goodfriend

Marvin Goodfriend

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert G. King

Boston University - Department of Economics; Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond - Research Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

A standard statistical perspective on the U.S. Great Inflation is that it involves an increase in the stochastic trend rate of inflation, defined as the long-term forecast of inflation at each point in time. That perspective receives support from two sources: the behavior of long-term interest rates which are generally supposed to contain private sector forecasts, and statistical studies of U.S. inflation dynamics. We show that a textbook macroeconomic model delivers such a stochastic inflation trend, when there are shifts in the growth rate of capacity output, under two behavioral hypotheses about the central bank: (i) that it seeks to maintain output at capacity; and (ii) that it seeks to maintain continuity of the short-term interest rate. The theory then identifies major upswings in trend inflation with unexpectedly slow growth of capacity output. We interpret the rise of inflation in the U.S. from the perspective of this simple macroeconomic framework.

Suggested Citation

Goodfriend, Marvin and King, Robert G., The Great Inflation Drift (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14862. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1376185

Marvin Goodfriend (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Robert G. King

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-5941 (Phone)

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond - Research Department

P.O. Box 27622
Richmond, VA 23261
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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