Monetary Policy and the 1979 Supply Shock

Robert J. Gordon

NBER Working Paper No. 418
Issued in December 1979
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

The most striking aspects of recent U.S. wage and price behavior are the small year-to-year variations in the rate of change of wages, the modest 1977-79 acceleration in the rate of change of both wages and the consumption deflator net of food and energy, and an unprecedented gap between the inflation rates recorded by the CPI and personal consumption deflator. A small and simple econometric model is used to forecast the consequences of various policies for the future growth of the monetary base. No policy will be able to prevent an acceleration in the growth rate of the personal consumption deflator net of food and energy from its recent 7 percent track to 8 percent or above in the first half of 1980. The gross personal consumption deflator will climb even faster, with the difference depending on the behavior of oil and food prices. Thereafter, the effect of slack labor markets will begin to allow inflation net of food and energy to decelerate substantially. A 6 percent rule for the monetary base is too conservative and causes the unemployment rate to rise to 8.5 percent in 1982. An 8 percent rule for the base is preferable, allows the unemployment rate to begin to fall after late 1981, and still achieves a deceleration of inflation net of food and energy from 8 percent in mid-1980 to 6 percent in 1983. Thereafter, the growth of the base should be slowed down to keep the economy from overshooting again.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0418

Published: Gordon, Robert J. "Supply Shocks And Monetary Policy Revisited," American Economic Review, 1984, v74(2), 38-43.

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