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What Measure of Inflation Should a Central Bank Target?

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Author Info

  • N. Gregory Mankiw

    (Harvard University)

  • Ricardo Reis

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper assumes that a central bank commits itself to maintaining an inflation target and then asks what measure of the inflation rate the central bank should use if it wants to maximize economic stability. The paper first formalizes this problem and examines its microeconomic foundations. It then shows how the weight of a sector in the stability price index depends on the sector's characteristics, including size, cyclical sensitivity, sluggishness of price adjustment, and magnitude of sectoral shocks. When a numerical illustration of the problem is calibrated to U.S. data, one tentative conclusion is that a central bank that wants to achieve maximum stability of economic activity should use a price index that gives substantial weight to the level of nominal wages. (JEL: E42, E52, E58) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 1058-1086

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:5:p:1058-1086

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  1. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  2. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  3. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency area," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 293-320, July.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Edmund Phelps, 1978. "Disinflation without recession: Adaptive guideposts and monetary policy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 114(4), pages 783-809, December.
  6. Mark A. Wynne, 1999. "Core inflation: a review of some conceptual issues," Working Papers 9903, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  8. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  9. Jón Steinsson, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Economics wp11, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
  10. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
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