Oil Price Shocks, Monetary Policy and Stagflation

34 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2009

See all articles by Lutz Kilian

Lutz Kilian

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 2009


One of the central questions in recent macroeconomic history is to what extent monetary policy as opposed to oil price shocks contributed to the stagflation of the 1970s. Understanding what went wrong in the 1970s is the key to learning from the past. One explanation explored in Barsky and Kilian (2002) is that worldwide shifts in monetary policy regimes not related to the oil market played a major role in causing both the major oil price increases of the 1970s and stagflation in many economies. A competing view exemplified by Bernanke, Gertler and Watson (1997) is that the oil price shocks of the 1970s and 1980s arose exogenously with respect to global macroeconomic conditions, but were propagated by the reaction of monetary policy makers, causing stagflation in the process. This paper reviews the evidence for these two main explanations, interprets recent events in light of this evidence, and outlines implications for monetary policy.

Keywords: Monetary policy, Oil price, Policy reaction, Regimes, Stagflation

JEL Classification: E31, E32, E42, Q43

Suggested Citation

Kilian, Lutz, Oil Price Shocks, Monetary Policy and Stagflation (June 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7324, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433920

Lutz Kilian (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

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