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Working Paper

Oil and the Great Moderation

We assess the extent to which the period of great U.S. macroeconomic stability since the mid-1980s can be accounted for by changes in oil shocks and the oil share in GDP. To do this we estimate a DSGE model with an oil-producing sector before and after 1984 and perform counterfactual simulations. We nest two popular explanations for the Great Moderation: (1) smaller (non-oil) real shocks; and (2) better monetary policy. We find that the reduced oil share accounted for as much as one-third of the inflation moderation and 13% of the growth moderation, while smaller oil shocks accounted for 11% of the inflation moderation and 7% of the growth moderation. This notwithstanding, better monetary policy explains the bulk of the inflation moderation, while most of the growth moderation is explained by smaller TFP shocks.

Working Papers of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland are preliminary materials circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment on research in progress. They may not have been subject to the formal editorial review accorded official Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland publications. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Federal Reserve System.

Suggested Citation

Nakov, Anton, and Andrea Pescatori. 2007. “Oil and the Great Moderation.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 07-17.