Postwar U.S. data show that consumption growth "Granger-causes" output and investment growth, which is puzzling if technology is the driving force of the business cycle. The author asks whether general equilibrium models with information frictions and non-technology shocks can rationalize the observed causal relationships. His conclusion is they cannot.
This paper, using extensive archival material from several countries, brings together scattered information about Milton Friedman's views and predictions regarding U.S. monetary policy developments after 1960 (i.e., the period beyond that covered by his and Anna Schwartz's Monetary History of the United States). The author evaluates these interpretations and predictions in light of subsequent events.
This article was originally presented as a speech to the Chartered Financial Analysts of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, January 17, 2007.
It is widely acknowledged that the Fed can control the average inflation rate over a period of time reasonably well. Because of this and the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC's) long-standing commitment to price stability, the author argues that the FOMC has an implicit long-run inflation objective (LIO)"”lower and upper bounds to the long-run inflation rate. He shows that the statements made by the FOMC in 2003 clarified the lower bound of its LIO and that the average of long-run inflation expectations responded by rising about 80 basis points. Moreover, consistent with reducing the market's uncertainty about the FOMC's LIO, long-run inflation expectations became more stable. The FOMC has recently been more specific about the upper bound of its LIO as well. The FOMC could eliminate the remaining uncertainty by establishing an explicit, numerical inflation objective.