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The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium

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  • Dotsey, Michael
  • Ireland, Peter

Abstract

This paper presents a general equilibrium monetary model in which inflation distorts a variety of marginal decisions. Although individually none of the distortions is very large, they combine to yield substantial welfare cost estimates. A sustained 4% inflation like that experienced in the U.S. since 1983 costs the economy the equivalent of 0.41% of output per year when currency is identified as the relevant definition of money and over 1% of output per year when M1 is defined as money. The results illustrate how the traditional, partial equilibrium approach can seriously underestimate the true cost of inflation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 29-47

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:37:y:1996:i:1:p:29-47

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Gillman, Max, 1993. "The welfare cost of inflation in a cash-in-advance economy with costly credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 97-115, February.
  2. 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.
  3. Wang, P. & Yip, C.K., 1993. "Real Effects of Money and Welfare Costs of Inflation in an Endogenously Growing Economy with Transactions Costs," Papers 3-92-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 1989. "Transitional Dynamics and Economic Growth in the Neoclassical Model," NBER Working Papers 3185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gomme, P., 1993. "Money and Growth Revisited : Measuring the Costs of Inflation in an Endogenous Growth Model," Discussion Papers dp93-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
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  7. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  9. Charles T. Carlstrom & William T. Gavin, 1991. "Zero inflation: transition costs and shoe-leather benefits," Working Paper 9113, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Robert B. Avery & Gregory E. Elliehausen & Arthur B. Kennickell & Paul A. Spindt, 1987. "Changes in the use of transaction accounts and cash from 1984 to 1986," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Mar, pages 179-196.
  11. Schreft, Stacey L., 1992. "Welfare-improving credit controls," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 57-72, October.
  12. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 1993. "Growth and the Effects of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Harold L. Cole & Alan C. Stockman, 1988. "Specialization, Transactions Technologies, and Money Growth," NBER Working Papers 2724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Wilbur John Coleman II, 1988. "Money, interest, and capital in a cash-in-advance economy," International Finance Discussion Papers 323, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Marquis, Milton H & Reffett, Kevin L, 1994. "New Technology Spillovers into the Payment System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(426), pages 1123-38, September.
  16. Fischer, S., 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," Working papers 580, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1988. "The Inflation Tax In A Real Business Cycle Model," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - General.
  18. Lucas, Robert E., 1981. "Discussion of : Stanley Fischer, "towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II"," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 43-52, January.
  19. Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 329-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. De Gregorio, Jose, 1993. "Inflation, taxation, and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 271-298, June.
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  27. repec:fth:simfra:93-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Paul Gomme, 1991. "Money and growth revisited," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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