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Three Great American Disinflations

Michael Bordo (), Christopher Erceg and Andrew Levin ()

No 12982, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of transparency and credibility in accounting for the widely divergent macroeconomic effects of three episodes of deliberate monetary contraction: the post-Civil War deflation, the post-WWI deflation, and the Volcker disinflation. Using a dynamic general equilibrium model in which private agents use optimal filtering to infer the central bank's nominal anchor, we demonstrate that the salient features of these three historical episodes can be explained by differences in the design and transparency of monetary policy, even without any time variation in economic structure or model parameters. For a policy regime with relatively high credibility, our analysis highlights the benefits of a gradualist approach (as in the 1870s) rather than a sudden change in policy (as in 1920-21). In contrast, for a policy institution with relatively low credibility (such as the Federal Reserve in late 1980), an aggressive policy stance can play an important signalling role by making the policy shift more evident to private agents.

JEL-codes: E32 E42 E52 E58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cba, nep-dge, nep-his and nep-mac
Date: 2007-03
Note: ME DAE
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as Michael Bordo & Christopher Erceg & Andrew Levin & Ryan Michaels, 2007. "Three great American disinflations," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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