V- vs L-shaped recovery: Is CBO’s economic projection wrong?

CBO has recently published a new economic projection covering the period between 2011 and 2021. It explicitly defines the rate of real economic growth (GDP) and inflation for several segments: forecasts for 2011 and 2012, and projections for 2013 -2016 and 2017-2021. Overall, after two years of slow growth in 2011 and 2012, CBO expects a dramatic increase to the rate of 3.6% per year between 2013 and 2016 with the next five years of slow economy with the rate of 2.4% per year on average. Inflation is low over the entire period: the rate of PCE inflation varies between 2.4% and 1.3% per year and that of CPI inflation will be in the range 1.3% to 2.8% per year. Considering these figures one can conclude that CBO expects a slow version of a V-shaped recovery in the 2010s.  There is no double dip.   

We have also projected the rate of inflation and real economic growth in this blog and academic papers. Our GDP (per capita) model is based on the change in demographic characteristics (the age pyramid). Another model describes price inflation as a function of the change rate of labor force. Skipping all mathematical details, we expect the rate of real economic growth (GDP per capita) to fall slightly below zero between 2012 and 2014 (recession) and hovering around 1%  per year after 2015. The rate of price inflation (the GDP deflator and CPI) in the 2010s has to be slightly negative on average with some years of formal deflation. All in all, we expect an L-shaped recovery, i.e. no actual recovery during the 2010s.

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