The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the evidence on asymmetries in the effects of activity on inflation. Data for the G-7 countries are found to strongly support the view that the inflation-activity relationship is nonlinear, with high levels of activity raising inflation by more than low levels decrease it. In the face of such asymmetries, the average level of output in an economy subject to demand shocks will be below the level of output at which there is no tendency for inflation to rise or fall, contrary to the implications of linear models. One implication of these results is that policymakers can raise the average level of output over time by responding promptly to demand shocks, thus reducing the variance of output around trend.