EconoMonitor

Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

Category Archive: Inflation and monetary policy

  • What Is the Nairu and Why Does it Matter?

    In December 2016, after a year-long pause, the Fed resumed its tightening of monetary policy. As usual, the action took the form of a quarter point increase in the target range for the federal funds rate (a key rate that banks charge  on short-term loans to one another). Is still more tightening in store?  Most […]

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  • Marco Rubio Would Leave Economic Policy Rudderless

    Stabilizing the national economy is one of the federal government’s key responsibilities. Is that too much to ask? OK, then, can we at least ask that the government not make things worse when instability strikes? Not if you’re Marco Rubio. Sooner or later an oil price meltdown, a banking crisis, or a Chinese hard landing […]

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  • Is Greece Like Israel? Why the New Yorker is Wrong about the Shekel and the Euro

    Bernard Avishai, who teaches business at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, published an article in The New Yorker this week titled “Why Greece Needs the Euro.” A key part of his argument hinges on a comparison between Greece and Italy. In fact, Avishai has it backwards. A closer look at the Israeli experience shows that […]

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  • Deconstructing ShadowStats. Why is it so Loved by its Followers but Scorned by Economists?

    It is hard to think of a website so loved by its followers and so scorned by economists as John Williams’ ShadowStats, a widely cited source of alternative economic data on inflation and other economic indicators. Any econ blogger who has ever written a line about inflation is familiar with ShadowStats. Time and again, readers […]

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  • Job Surge Spooks Markets as Unemployment Approaches Natural Rate

    The BLS announced Friday that the US economy added 295,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, a new low for the recovery. The leading stock indexes immediately plunged. The Dow lost 1.5 percent, the S&P 500 1.4 percent, and the NASDAQ 1.1 percent. Why  the negative reaction to such good news? […]

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  • What Ever Happened to the Misery Index?

    Remember the 1960s? The 1970s? Back then, inflation surged from one peak to another but failed to deliver the low unemployment rates promised by the Phillips curve. In fit of frustration, economist Arthur Okun invented what he called the misery index—the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates. As the following chart shows, those were […]

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  • Prices are Falling in the Eurozone, but is it “Real” Deflation?

    The Eurozone has been on the brink of deflation for months. The latest data show that for the first time, consumer prices for the currency area as a whole (and for 12 of its 19 member countries) were actually lower in December than a year earlier. But is it “real” deflation? In a pair of […]

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  • What Lies Behind the Plunge of the Ruble?

    Russia’s economy is in trouble. Growth has come to a halt. A recession looms in 2015. Inflation, interest rates, and capital flight are up. The government’s budget is under strain. More than any of these, what makes the headlines is the plunge of the ruble, which, at one point in mid-December, had lost half of […]

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  • What Quantitative Easing Did Not Do: Three Revealing Charts

    The Fed has declared an official end to quantitative easing. It is a logical time to ask, did QE work? Danielle Kurtzleben gives the honest answer in a recent post on Vox: “It’s very, very hard to know.” Still, we do know three things that QE did not do. These are worth pointing out, especially […]

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  • Five Reasons Not to Fear Deflation: Which Ones Make Sense?

    In a post earlier this week, I explained why a majority of economists fear deflation. They argue that deflation disrupts the operation of financial markets and labor markets in a way that risks touching off a downward spiral. At the same time, they say, deflation weakens the power of monetary policy to reverse the downward […]

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