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.
Low rates of inflation have been recorded in recent years, despite a decline in the unemployment rate. This phenomenon could be the result of a series of transitory shocks or of a permanent change in the structure of the economy leading to a lower NAIRU. The paper suggests that, while the NAIRU may have fallen slightly, it has not fallen by an amount sufficient to explain the recent behavior of inflation. A leading explanation for recent inflation performance appears to be favorable price shocks; in particular, the cost of imports has fallen sharply as the dollar has appreciated.