For a last bit of “Year in Review”, yet more “Facts are Stupid Things”. Patrick R. Sullivan asserts that the economy boomed once the government reduced its spending in the wake of World War II. I am going to take a “boom” as a rapid increase in economic activity. Here is a time series depiction of real GDP’s evolution, using the Valerie Ramey (UCSD) series from her 2011 QJE paper (ungated working paper version here).
To heck with facts… and the scientific method.
Reader Steven Kopits writes “potential GDP model is also a binding constraint model”, so GDP “…is subject to some sort of natural speed limit which cannot be exceeded”. This assertion is so amazingly absolutist in nature, and represents such a misunderstanding of how macroeconomists typically think of potential, that I am moved to observe that if this were so, output would never exceed potential GDP in our frameworks. Now, let’s consider the relevant depiction implied by the CBO estimates (using a production function approach ).
The spectacular drop in oil prices means that inflation is going to fall even further below the Fed’s 2% target. Does that raise any new risks for the economy? I say no, and here’s why.
As I watch the financial meltdown in Russia (and work on a chapter on financial crises), I am pervaded by a sense of déjà vu.
Today we are fortunate to have a guest contribution written by Luis Brandão-Marques, Senior Economist, Gaston Gelos, Chief of the Global Financial Stability Analysis Division, and Natalia Melgar, Economist, all at the IMF. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management.