Assessing the Recent Behavior of Inflation
Inflation has remained below the FOMC?s long-run target of 2% for more than three years. But this sustained undershooting does not yet signal a statistically significant departure from the target once the volatility of monthly inflation rates is taken into account. Furthermore, the empirical Phillips curve relationship that links inflation to the size of production or employment gaps has been roughly stable since the early 1990s. Hence, continued improvements in production and employment relative to their long-run trends would be expected to put upward pressure on inflation.
Fiscal policy, increasing returns, and endogenous fluctuations
We examine the quantitative implications of government fiscal policy in a discrete-time one-sector growth model with a productive externality that generates social increasing returns to scale. Starting from a laissez-faire economy that exhibits an indeterminate steady state (a sink), we show that the introduction of a constant capital tax or subsidy can lead to various forms of endogenous fluctuations, including stable 2-, 4-, 8-, and 10- cycles, quasi-periodic orbits, and chaos. In contrast, a constant labor tax or subsidy has no effect on the qualitative nature of the model's dynamics. ...
Growth in the post-bubble economy
Rational and near-rational bubbles without drift
This paper derives a general class of intrinsic rational bubble solutions in a standard Lucas-type asset pricing model. I show that the rational bubble component of the price-dividend ratio can evolve as a geometric random walk without drift. The volatility of bubble innovations depends exclusively on fundamentals. Starting from an arbitrarily small positive value, the rational bubble expands and contracts over time in an irregular, wholly endogenous fashion, always returning to the vicinity of the fundamental solution. I also examine a near-rational solution in which the representative agent ...
Will moderating growth reduce inflation?
A much debated question among economists is the usefulness of the Phillips curve as a tool for forecasting inflation. This Economic Letter presents some quantitative comparisons between a Phillips curve-based inflation forecast and an alternative forecast that is constructed as a weighted moving average of past observed rates of inflation.
Output and inflation: a 100-year perspective
Real Business Cycles, Animal Spirits, and Stock Market Valuation
This paper develops a real business cycle model with five types of fundamental shocks and one "equity sentiment shock" that captures animal spirits-driven fluctuations. The representative agent's perception that movements in equity value are partly driven by sentiment turns out to be close to self-fulfilling. I solve for the sequences of shock realizations that allow the model to exactly replicate the observed time paths of U.S. consumption, investment, hours worked, the stock of physical capital, capital's share of income, and the S&P 500 market value from 1960.Q1 onwards. The ...
Forecasting growth over the next year with a business cycle index
The current economic recovery is proceeding at a tepid pace despite massive federal fiscal stimulus and extremely low interest rates. Forecasts derived from business cycle indicators produced by the Chicago and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks predict that real U.S. GDP growth through the first half of 2011 will remain at or below potential. If these forecasts prove accurate, then the historical relationship between real GDP growth and the labor market suggests that the unemployment rate could rise by as much as 0.5 percentage point during this period.
Is public capital productive? A review of the evidence
An examination of the empirical evidence regarding the productive effects of public capital on the U.S. economy, concluding that although boosting infrastructure investment might have a positive impact on private output, the magnitude of the effect is unclear.
Risk aversion and stock price volatility
Researchers on variance bounds tests of stock price volatility recognized early that risk aversion can increase the volatility of prices implied by the present-value model. This finding suggests that specifying risk neutrality may induce a bias toward rejecting the present-value model insofar as real-world investors are risk averse. However, establishing that risk aversion may increase stock price volatility does not, by itself, have implications for the presence or absence of excess volatility. This is so because risk aversion also affects the upper-bound volatility measure computed from ...