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Author:Rich, Robert W. 

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Early contract renegotiation: An analysis of U.S. labor contracts from 1970 to 1995

This paper examines the ex post flexibility of U.S. labor contracts during the 1970-95 period by investigating whether unanticipated changes in inflation increase the likelihood of a contract being renegotiated prior to its expiration. We find strong empirical support for this hypothesis. Specifically, our results indicate that renegotiations are triggered principally by large and infrequent price shocks of either sign. When combined with evidence that ex ante contract durations are shorter during episodes of increased inflation uncertainty, our results suggest that these contracts are ...
Staff Reports , Paper 521

Moderate Wage Growth Spurs Search for ‘Hidden Slack’ in Labor Market

In recent years, much has been made about the idea of hidden slack—unused labor capacity not captured by the unemployment rate.
Dallas Fed Economics

Working Paper
Greater Than the Sum of the Parts: Aggregate vs. Aggregated Inflation Expectations

Using novel survey evidence on consumer inflation expectations disaggregated by personal consumption expenditure (PCE) categories, we document the paradox that consumers' aggregate inflation expectations usually exceed any individual category expectation. We explore procedures for aggregating category inflation expectations, and find that the inconsistency between aggregate and aggregated inflation expectations rises with subjective uncertainty and is systematically related to socioeconomic characteristics. Overall, our results are inconsistent with the notion that consumers' aggregate ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-20

Report
Uncertainty and labor contract durations

This paper provides an empirical investigation into the relationship between ex ante U.S. labor contract durations and uncertainty over the period 1970 to 1995. We construct measures of inflation uncertainty as well as aggregate nominal and real uncertainty. The results not only corroborate previous findings of an inverse relationship between contract durations and inflation uncertainty, but also document that this relationship extends to both measures of aggregate uncertainty. We also explore the robustness of this relationship to various measures of inflation uncertainty that have appeared ...
Staff Reports , Paper 106

Journal Article
Indirect Consumer Inflation Expectations

Surveys often measure consumers’ inflation expectations by asking directly about prices in general or overall inflation, concepts that may not be well-defined for some individuals. In this Commentary, we propose a new, indirect way of measuring consumer inflation expectations: Given consumers’ expectations about developments in prices of goods and services during the next 12 months, we ask them how their incomes would have to change to make them equally well-off relative to their current situation such that they could buy the same amount of goods and services as they can today. Using a ...
Economic Commentary , Volume 2022 , Issue 03 , Pages 9

Whose Wages Are Falling Behind the Least amid Surging Inflation?

For a majority of workers, wages didn’t increase as fast as inflation in the 12 months ended in second quarter 2022. Here, we dig deeper to see how outcomes may have differed across groups of workers.
Dallas Fed Economics

U.S. Labor Market Slack Created by COVID-19 Pandemic Has Been Absorbed

The weaker-than-expected August labor market report should not obscure the labor market’s ongoing and significant progress while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dallas Fed Economics

Journal Article
Understanding the recent behavior of U.S. inflation

One of the most surprising features of the long current expansion has been the decline in price inflation through the late 1990s. Some observers interpret the decline as evidence of a permanent change in the relationship between inflation and economic growth. But an analysis based on a standard forecasting model suggests that conventional economic factors_most notably, a decrease in import prices_can account for the low inflation rates in recent years.
Current Issues in Economics and Finance , Volume 6 , Issue Jul

Working Paper
Low Passthrough from Inflation Expectations to Income Growth Expectations: Why People Dislike Inflation

Using a novel experimental setup, we study the direction of causality between consumers’ inflation expectations and their income growth expectations. In a large, nationally representative survey of US consumers, we find that the rate of passthrough from expected inflation to expected income growth is incomplete, on the order of 20 percent. There is no statistically significant effect going in the other direction. Passthrough varies systematically with demographic and socioeconomic factors, with greater passthrough for higher-income individuals than lower-income individuals, although it is ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-21

Journal Article
Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2019 Conference Summary

To provide insights into the processes that drive inflationary dynamics, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland holdsan annual conference on the topic of inflation: “Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics.” This Commentary summarizes thepapers presented at the 2019 conference.
Economic Commentary , Volume 2019 , Issue 22 , Pages 6

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