NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The 1971-1974 Controls Program and The Price Level: An Econometric Post-Mortem

Alan S. Blinder, William J. Newton

NBER Working Paper No. 279 (Also Reprint No. r0210)
Issued in October 1981
NBER Program(s):   EFG

This paper provides new empirical evidence on the effects of the Nixon wage—price controls on the price level. The major new wrinkle is that the controls are treated as a quantitative (rather than just a qualitative) phenomenon through the use of a specially-constructed series indicating the fraction of the economy that was controlled. According to the estimates, by February 1974controls had lowered the non-food non-energy price level by 3—4 percent. After that point, and especially after controls ended in April 1974, a period of rapid 'catch up' inflation eroded the gains that had been achieved, leaving the price level from zero to 2 percent below what it would have been in the absence of controls. The dismantling of controls can thus account for most of the burst of 'double digit' inflation in non-food and non-energy prices during 1974.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0279

Published: Blinder, Alan S. and Newton, William J. "The 1971-1974 Controls Program andthe Price Level: An Econometric Post-Mortem." Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, (July 1981), pp. 1-23.

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