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The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics

Editor-in-Chief: Abraham, Arpad / Cavalcanti, Tiago

Ed. by Carceles-Poveda , Eva / Kambourov, Gueorgui / Lambertini, Luisa / Ruhl, Kim / Tavares, Jose

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Great Moderation(s) and US Interest Rates: Unconditional Evidence

James M. Nason1 / Gregor W Smith2

1Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta,

2Queen’s University,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics. Volume 8, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1690, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1690.1759, November 2008

Publication History

Published Online:
2008-11-27

The Great Moderation refers to the fall in US output growth volatility in the mid-1980s. At the same time, the US experienced a moderation in inflation and lower average inflation. Asset pricing theory predicts that moderations -- real or nominal -- influence interest rates. Using annual data since 1890, we find that an earlier 1946 moderation in output and consumption growth was comparable to that of 1984. To assess the impact of these moderations, we also isolate the 1969-1983 Great Inflation using quarterly data since 1947. We examine the quantitative predictions of a consumption-based asset pricing model for shifts in the unconditional average of US interest rates across these time periods. A central finding is that such shifts probably were related to changes in average inflation rather than to moderations in inflation and consumption growth.

Keywords: Great Moderation; asset pricing; interest rate

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