Empirical studies have documented that the persistence of the gap between inflation and its trend declined after the Volcker disinflation. Previous research into the source of the decline has offered competing views while sidestepping the possibility of equilibrium indeterminacy. This paper examines the source by estimating a medium-scale DSGE model using a Bayesian method that allows for indeterminacy. The estimated model shows that the Fed’s change from a passive to an active policy response to the inflation gap or a decrease in firms’ probability of price change can fully account for the decline in inflation gap persistence by ruling out indeterminacy that induces persistent dynamics of the economy.
A large literature has established that the Fed’s change from a passive to an active policy response to inflation led to U.S. macroeconomic stability after the Great Inflation of the 1970s. This paper revisits the literature’s view by estimating a generalized New Keynesian model using a full-information Bayesian method that allows for equilibrium indeterminacy and adopts a sequential Monte Carlo algorithm. The model empirically outperforms canonical New Keynesian models that confirm the literature’s view. Our estimated model shows an active policy response to inflation even during the Great Inflation. More importantly, a more active policy response to inflation alone does not suffice for explaining the U.S. macroeconomic stability, unless it is accompanied by a change in either trend inflation or policy responses to the output gap and output growth. This extends the literature by emphasizing the importance of the changes in other aspects of monetary policy in addition to its response to inflation.