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JOURNAL ARTICLE
Forecasting Pre-World War I Inflation: The Fisher Effect and the Gold Standard
Robert B. Barsky and J. Bradford de Long
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 106, No. 3 (Aug., 1991), pp. 815-836 (22 pages)
Published By: Oxford University Press
https://doi.org/10.2307/2937928
https://www.​jstor​.org​/stable/2937928
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Abstract
We examine interest and inflation rates from 1879 to 1913. Deflation prior to 1896 was followed by inflation. Average U. S. inflation was 3.1 percentage points higher in the years after 1896, yet nominal interest rates were no higher after 1896. This nonadjustment of nominal rates would be consistent with rational expectations if inflation was not forecastable, and indeed univariate tests show little sign of serial correlation. But gold production does forecast inflation. The relationship between mining and inflation was such that expected inflation should have risen 300 basis points between 1890 and 1910. We consider explanations of this failure to foresee the shift in inflation after 1896 and conclude that it is not persuasive evidence that investors ignored relevant information, but does suggest great uncertainty about the appropriate model for analyzing the economy.
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The Quarterly Journal of Economics (QJE) is the oldest professional journal of economics in the English language. Edited at Harvard University's Department of Economics, it covers all aspects of the field -- from the journal's traditional emphasis on microtheory, to both empirical and theoretical macroeconomics. QJE is invaluable to professional and academic economists and students around the world.
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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP is the world's largest university press with the widest global presence. It currently publishes more than 6,000 new publications a year, has offices in around fifty countries, and employs more than 5,500 people worldwide. It has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing program that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, school and college textbooks, business books, dictionaries and reference books, and academic journals.
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