Do we really know that US monetary policy was destabilizing in the 1970s?

Author name: 
Haque Q
Groshenny N
Weder M

In this paper we examine whether or not monetary policy was a source of instability during the Great Inflation. We focus on a number of attributes that we see relevant for any analysis of the 1970s: cost-push or oil price shocks, positive trend inflation as well as real wage rigidity. We turn our artificial sticky-price economy into a Bayesian model and find that the U.S. economy during the 1970s is best characterized by a high degree of real wage rigidity. Oil price shocks thus created a trade-off between inflation and output-gap stabilization. Faced with this dilemma, the Federal Reserve reacted aggressively to inflation but hardly at all to the output gap, thereby inducing stability, i.e. determinacy.

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