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The long-run costs of moderate inflation

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Author Info

  • Gregory D. Hess
  • Charles S. Morris

Abstract

Long-run price stability is generally considered to be a primary goal of monetary policymakers in many countries. One reason policymakers care about inflation is that it can harm economic performance. Numerous studies of the impact of inflation on economic performance have focused on whether increases in inflation reduce economic growth in the long run These studies have found that prolonged high inflation does in fact reduce economic growth, but they were not able to detect a significant long-run relationship between real growth and low or moderate inflation. Because anti-inflationary policies typically have short-run costs, such as higher unemployment and slower economic growth, the results from these studies may lead people to ask whether such policies are appropriate when inflation is low or moderate.> Hess and Morris contend that anti-inflationary policies may be appropriate, even if low to moderate long-run inflation does not reduce long-run growth, if inflation harms the economy in other ways. Three potentially harmful consequences of inflation are considered: (1) inflation uncertainty, (2) real growth variability, and (3) relative price volatility. These consequences are costly because they reduce economic efficiency and therefore the level of economic output and consumer welfare.> The authors discuss the costs of inflation uncertainty, real growth variability, and relative price volatility, and examine their empirical relationship with inflation. They show that inflation uncertainty, real growth variability, and relative price volatility all tend to rise as long-run inflation rises from low to moderate levels. As a result, they conclude that policymakers may find it justifiable to pursue anti-inflationary policies even when inflation is low.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1996)
Issue (Month): Q II ()
Pages: 71-88

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1996:i:qii:p:71-88:n:v.81no.2

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Keywords: Inflation (Finance) ; Prices;

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Cited by:
  1. Carlos Humberto Cardona & Adriana Pontón & Eduardo Sarmiento, . "Evidencia sobre las Desinflaciones: Experiencia Internacional," Borradores de Economia 102, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  2. Davis, George K & Kanago, Bryce E, 2000. "The Level and Uncertainty of Inflation: Results from OECD Forecasts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 58-72, January.
  3. Frederic S Mishkin, 1997. "Strategies for Controlling Inflation," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Philip Lowe (ed.), Monetary Policy and Inflation Targeting Reserve Bank of Australia.
  4. Inoue, Tetsuya, 1998. "Impact of Information Technology and Implications for Monetary Policy," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 16(2), pages 29-60, December.
  5. WenShwo Fang & Stephen M. Miller & Chih-Chuan Yeh, 2009. "Does a Threshold Inflation Rate Exist? Quantile Inferences for Inflation and Its Variability," Working Papers 0921, University of Nevada, Las Vegas , Department of Economics, revised Dec 2009.
  6. Tsyplakov, Alexander, 2010. "The links between inflation and inflation uncertainty at the longer horizon," MPRA Paper 26908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Tsyplakov Alexander, 2010. "The links between inflation and inflation uncertainty at the longer horizon," EERC Working Paper Series 10/09e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
  8. Davis, George & Kanago, Bryce, 1998. "High and Uncertain Inflation: Results from a New Data Set," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 218-30, May.
  9. O'Reilly, B., 1998. "The Benefits of Low Inflation: Taking Shock "A nickel ain't worth a dime any more" [Yogi Berra]," Technical Reports 83, Bank of Canada.

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