NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Changes in the Federal Reserve's Inflation Target: Causes and Consequences

Peter N. Ireland

NBER Working Paper No. 12492
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper estimates a New Keynesian model to draw inferences about the behavior of the Federal Reserve's unobserved inflation target. The results indicate that the target rose from 1 1/4 percent in 1959 to over 8 percent in the mid-to-late 1970s before falling back below 2 1/2 percent in 2004. The results also provide some support for the hypothesis that over the entire postwar period, Federal Reserve policy has systematically translated short-run price pressures set off by supply-side shocks into more persistent movements in inflation itself, although considerable uncertainty remains about the true source of shifts in the inflation target.

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Published: Peter N. Ireland, 2007. "Changes in the Federal Reserve's Inflation Target: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 1851-1882, December.

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