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Welfare Cost of (Low) Inflation: A General Equilibrium Perspective

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  • Howell H. Zee

Abstract

This paper provides general equilibrium estimates of the steady-state welfare gains of lowering inflation from a low level to close to price stability, using an overlapping-generations growth model. Money demand is modeled on the basis that real money balances are a factor of production. Assuming a standard Fisher equation modified by the presence of an income tax, it is found that inflation unambiguously reduces capital intensity, drives up the before-tax real rate of return to capital, and unambiguously imposes a life-time welfare cost. This welfare cost is, however, quantitatively very modest (under 0.2 percent of GDP annually) within reasonable ranges of all parameter values.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

Volume (Year): 57 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 376-393

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200108)57:4_376:wco(ia_2.0.tx_2-8

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