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An optimal inflation target for New Zealand: lessons from the literature

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  • Anne-Marie Brook
  • Özer Karagedikli
  • Dean Scrimgeour

    (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

Abstract

In this article we summarise the recent economic literature on the relationship between inflation and growth, to assess what inflation target might be most consistent with the fastest pace of sustainable economic growth. One conclusion is that the relationship between inflation and growth seems to be different at different rates of inflation. At very low rates of inflation, including the 0 - 3 per cent range, the growth rate seems to be independent of the inflation rate. But at higher rates of inflation, there is evidence that inflation does significant damage to growth. There is some theoretical literature which cautions central banks against deflation, and therefore against including zero in an inflation target range. As yet there is little data available with which to test this presumption. Based on the theoretical arguments, we conclude that the risks of New Zealand being caught in a deflationary trap are low. Overall, we conclude that average rates of inflation in New Zealand have been within the `optimal inflation range' suggested by the literature. Interested readers may wish to consult a longer and more comprehensive version of this paper, contained in the Bank's publication on PTA related issues.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its journal Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 65 (2002)
Issue (Month): (September)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbbul:september2002:1

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References

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  1. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joanne Archibald & Leni Hunter, 2001. "What is the neutral real interest rate, and how can we use it?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 64, September.
  3. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price stability and monetary policy effectiveness when nominal interest rates are bounded at zero," Working Paper Series 0231, European Central Bank.
  4. Bruno, Michael & Easterly, William, 1998. "Inflation crises and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 3-26, February.
  5. Lawrence Summers, 1991. "Panel discussion: price stability ; How should long-term monetary policy be determined?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 625-631.
  6. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  7. Robert A. Buckle & John A. Carlson, 2000. "Inflation and Asymmetric Price Adjustment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 157-160, February.
  8. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara J, 1993. "What We Have Learned about Policy and Growth from Cross-Country Regressions?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 426-30, May.
  9. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
  10. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  11. Javier Andrés & Ignacio Hernando, 1999. "Does Inflation Harm Economic Growth? Evidence from the OECD," NBER Chapters, in: The Costs and Benefits of Price Stability, pages 315-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Burdekin, Richard C.K. & Denzau, Arthur T. & Keil, Manfred W. & Sitthiyot, Thitithep & Willett, Thomas D., 2004. "When does inflation hurt economic growth? Different nonlinearities for different economies," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 519-532, September.
  13. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  14. Fischer, Stanley, 1981. "Towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 5-41, January.
  15. Jacqueline Dwyer & Kenneth Leong, 2000. "Nominal Wage Rigidity in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2000-08, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  16. Leo Bonato, 1998. "Price stability: some costs and benefits in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G98/10, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  17. Samantha Johnson, 1993. "The costs of inflation revisited," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 56, March.
  18. By Mohsin S. Khan & Abdelhak S. Senhadji, 2001. "Threshold Effects in the Relationship Between Inflation and Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 1.
  19. 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.
  20. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
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Cited by:
  1. Réka Juhász, 2008. "The optimal rate of inflation and the inflation target: international experience and the Hungarian perspective," MNB Bulletin, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary), vol. 3(2), pages 30-37, September.
  2. Christie Smith, 2004. "The long-run effects of monetary policy on output growth," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 67, September.
  3. Nicoletta Batini & Douglas Laxton, 2006. "Under What Conditions Can Inflation Targeting Be Adopted? The Experience of Emerging Markets," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 406, Central Bank of Chile.

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