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The NAIRU in Theory and Practice

Laurence Ball () and N. Gregory Mankiw ()

No 1963, Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers from Harvard - Institute of Economic Research

Abstract: This paper discusses the NAIRU - the non-accelerating inflation rate unemployment. It first considers the role of the NAIRU concept in business cycle theory, arguing that this concept is implicit in any model in which monetary policy influences both inflation and unemployment. The exact value of the NAIRU is hard to measure, however, in part because it changes over time. The paper then discusses why the NAIRU changes and, in particular, why it fell in the United States during the 1990s. The most promising hypothesis is that the decline in the NAIRU is attributable to the acceleration in productivity growth.

Date: 2002
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