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Recent Inflation-Related Research

Inflation-Related Economic Commentary

Economic Commentary provides research, analysis, and perspectives on an economic topic or policy issue.

  • A Forecasting Assessment of Market-Based PCE Inflation

    Mark Bognanni


    This article explores the potential for market-based inflation measures to improve inflation forecasting. To do so, I compare the pseudo-real time forecasting performance of a suite of models for forecasting total or “headline” PCE inflation over the short and medium run. In the forecasting exercise, a simple model using only market-based core PCE inflation showed the best forecasting performance at all horizons.  Read More

  • Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2019 Conference Summary

    Andres Blanco Mina Kim Edward Knotek II Matthias Paustian Robert W Rich Jane Ryngaert Raphael Schoenle Joris Tielens Henning Weber Michael Weber Mirko Wiederholt Tony Zhang


    To provide insights into the processes that drive inflationary dynamics, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland holds an annual conference on the topic of inflation: “Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics.” This Commentary summarizes the papers presented at the 2019 conference.  Read More

  • Cyclical versus Acyclical Inflation: A Deeper Dive

    Saeed Zaman


    This Commentary builds on recent research separating the components of overall inflation into cyclical and acyclical categories, but it does so at a finer level of disaggregation than previous analyses to understand recent inflation developments in the two categories. The inflation rate among cyclically sensitive subcomponents, which comprise roughly 40 percent of overall core PCE inflation, has generally continued to firm in recent years in line with a strengthening labor market and has returned to near pre-Great Recession levels. By contrast, the inflation rate among the acyclical subcomponents remains subdued. A modest firming in acyclical core PCE inflation to a more normal level, combined with ongoing strength in the labor market, would be enough to return core PCE inflation to 2 percent within approximately one year.  Read More

Inflation-Related Working Papers

Working papers are preliminary versions of technical papers containing the results and discussions of current research.

  • WP 19-25 | The Propagation of Monetary Policy Shocks in a Heterogeneous Production Economy

    Ernesto Pasten Raphael Schoenle Michael Weber

    Revisions: WP 19-25R


    Realistic heterogeneity in price rigidity interacts with heterogeneity in sectoral size and input-output linkages in the transmission of monetary policy shocks. Quantitatively, heterogeneity in price stickiness is the central driver for real effects. Input-output linkages and consumption shares alter the identity of the most important sectors to the transmission. Reducing the number of sectors decreases monetary non-neutrality with a similar impact response of inflation. Hence, the initial response of inflation to monetary shocks is not sufficient to discriminate across models and ignoring heterogeneous consumption shares and input-output linkages identifies the wrong sectors from which the real effects originate.  Read More

  • WP 19-23 | The Roles of Price Points and Menu Costs in Price Rigidity

    Edward Knotek II


    Macroeconomic models often generate nominal price rigidity via menu costs. This paper provides empirical evidence that treating menu costs as a structural explanation for sticky prices may be spurious. Using scanner data, I note two empirical facts: (1) price points, embodied in nine-ending prices, account for approximately two-thirds of prices; and (2) at the conclusion of sales, post-sale prices return to their pre-sale levels more than three-fourths of the time. I construct a model that nests roles for menu costs and price points and estimate model variants. Excluding the two facts yields a statistically and economically significant role for menu costs in generating price rigidity. Incorporating the two facts yields an incentive to set nine-ending prices two orders of magnitude larger than the menu costs. In this setting, the price point model can match the two stylized facts, but menu costs are effectively irrelevant as a source of price rigidity. The choice of a mechanism for price rigidity matters for aggregate dynamics.  Read More

  • WP 19-24 | The Effects of Price Endings on Price Rigidity: Evidence from VAT Changes

    Edward Knotek II Doron Sayag Avichai Snir


    We document a causal role for price endings in generating micro and macro price rigidity. Based on micro price data underlying the consumer price index in Israel, we document that most stores have a favored price ending—a final digit, usually a zero or nine, used by a majority of prices in that store—and that these favored price endings are utilized extensively. Using changes to the VAT rate as exogenous cost shocks that affect prices regardless of ending, we find that the frequency of price adjustment for nonfavored endings increases by twice as much as the frequency of adjustment for favored endings in months when the VAT rate changes. In the aggregate, sluggish pass-through of VAT rate changes is due to favored endings; changes in the VAT rate are passed through fully and immediately to nonfavored endings.  Read More