The Federal Reserve building is seen in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will be hard-pressed to lower inflation without a significant blow to U.S. economic activity and a sharp rise in unemployment, and even then may miss its 2% inflation target for years to come, a group of top economists concluded after a review of central banks’ past inflation battles.
In research released on a day when inflation data showed an unexpected spike, the authors found that over 16 episodes of “disinflation” engineered by central banks in the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, “we find no instance in which a significant central bank-induced disinflation occurred without a recession.”
The researchers included Brandeis International Business School professor Stephen Cecchetti, who is a former top economist at the Bank for International Settlements; Michael Feroli, chief economist at J.P. Morgan; and Columbia Business School professor Frederic Mishkin, who is a former Fed governor and longtime research collaborator with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
The findings were presented on Friday at a conference organized by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and drew pushback from Fed officials who reviewed and commented on it.