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 comovement of prices with the cyclical component of output. It argues that determining the cyclical behavior of prices by applying the same stationarity-inducing transformation to the levels of both output and prices, and examining the correlations of the resulting series, can be misleading. A more appropriate procedure is to examine the correlations between the rate of inflation and the level of the cyclical component of output. In post-war U.S. data the correlations between similarly transformed price and output data are consistently and often strongly negative, as reported recently by a number of authors as evidence of countercyclical price behavior. The rate of inflation, however, is consistently and usually strongly positively correlated with various measures of the cyclical component of output.