The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking

University of Chicago Press
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Controlling inflation is among the most important objectives of economic policy. By maintaining price stability, policy makers are able to reduce uncertainty, improve price-monitoring mechanisms, and facilitate more efficient planning and allocation of resources, thereby raising productivity.

This volume focuses on understanding the causes of the Great Inflation of the 1970s and ’80s, which saw rising inflation in many nations, and which propelled interest rates across the developing world into the double digits. In the decades since, the immediate cause of the period’s rise in inflation has been the subject of considerable debate. Among the areas of contention are the role of monetary policy in driving inflation and the implications this had both for policy design and for evaluating the performance of those who set the policy. Here, contributors map monetary policy from the 1960s to the present, shedding light on the ways in which the lessons of the Great Inflation were absorbed and applied to today’s global and increasingly complex economic environment.
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About the author

Michael D. Bordo is professor of economics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a research associate of the NBER. Athanasios Orphanides is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow of the Center for Financial Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt. He is a former governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jun 28, 2013
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Pages
592
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ISBN
9780226043555
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
Business & Economics / Economics / Macroeconomics
Business & Economics / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Socialism has killed millions, but it’s now the ideology du jour on American college campuses and among many leftists. Reintroduced by leaders such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the ideology manifests itself in starry-eyed calls for free-spending policies like Medicare-for-all and student loan forgiveness.

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In the past fifteen years, inflation has been conquered by many advanced countries. History reveals, however, that it has been conquered before and returned. In The Conquest of American Inflation, Thomas J. Sargent presents a groundbreaking analysis of the rise and fall of U.S. inflation after 1960. He examines two broad explanations for the behavior of inflation and unemployment in this period: the natural-rate hypothesis joined to the Lucas critique and a more traditional econometric policy evaluation modified to include adaptive expectations and learning. His purpose is not only to determine which is the better account, but also to codify for the benefit of the next generation the economic forces that cause inflation.

Sargent begins with an explanation of how American policymakers increased inflation in the early 1960s by following erroneous assumptions about the exploitability of the Phillips curve--the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment. In subsequent chapters, he connects a sequence of ideas--self-confirming equilibria, least-squares and other adaptive or recursive learning algorithms, convergence of least-squares learners with self-confirming equilibria, and recurrent dynamics along escape routes from self-confirming equilibria. Sargent synthesizes results from macroeconomics, game theory, control theory, and other fields to extend both adaptive expectations and rational expectations theory, and he compellingly describes postwar inflation in terms of drifting coefficients. He interprets his results in favor of adaptive expectations as the relevant mechanism affecting inflation policy.


Providing an original methodological link between theoretical and policy economics, this book will engender much debate and become an indispensable text for academics, graduate students, and professional economists.

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