Can Monetary Policy Make a Difference for Economic Growth and Inequality?
AbstractThe basis for central bank policy aimed at price stability is the view that the benefits from very low inflation are "large and permanent," and that the related unemployment costs are "small and temporary." I question this belief in three ways: first, I point out that the quantitative evidence of large direct macroeconomic benefits from very low inflation is flimsy. Second, I show that the traditional inflation-unemployment tradeoff, which leaves no room for a permanent effect of monetary policy on output and employment, is a total failure as a description of the Canadian experience of the past decade. Third, I report on new evidence which shows that holding inflation below 2 percent (as the Bank of Canada has done since 1991) increases unemployment substantially and permanently, but that pushing inflation above 4 percent also generates higher permanent unemployment. Consequently, the optimal, unemployment-minimizing rate of inflation would be neither less than 2 percent nor greater than 4 percent, but would lie somewhere in between. I conclude that what is called for at this time is a monetary policy that is opportunistic on the expansionary side and brings the inflation rate into this range. Since poverty and unemployment are highly correlated, this new approach could also reduce poverty in Canada.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.
Volume (Year): 29 (2003)
Issue (Month): s1 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of Toronto Press Journals Division 5201 Dufferin Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3H 5T8
Web page: http://economics.ca/cpp/
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
- Robert J. Barro, 1996.
"Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study,"
NBER Working Papers
5698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, December.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991.
"A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
609, The World Bank.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
- Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997.
"I Just Ran Two Million Regressions,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-83, May.
- Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
- St-Amant, Pierre & Tessier, David, 1998.
"Résultats empiriques multi-pays relatifs à l'impact des cibles d'inflation sur la crédibilité de la politique monétaire,"
98-23, Bank of Canada.
- Pierre St-Amant & David Tessier, 2000. "Résultats empiriques multi-pays relatifs à l'impact des cibles d'inflation sur la crédibilité de la politique monétaire," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(3), pages 295-310, September.
- Martin Feldstein, 1996.
"The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability,"
NBER Working Papers
5469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. Werner Antweiler).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.