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Do We Know How Low Inflation Should Be?

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  • Wyplosz, Charles

Abstract

The Paper looks for evidence of grease and sand effects in Europe, in particular the possibility that the natural rate of unemployment is affected by the inflation rate. Looking at four countries, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the Paper reports some preliminary evidence that the long-run rate of unemployment is a non-linear function of inflation. The particular shape of the empirical relationship supports the view that a moderate level of inflation provides some ‘grease’ to the price and wage setting process. In particular, the long-run rate of unemployment is found to reach a maximum of between 0.5% and 1%, and to decline quickly for higher rates of inflation. For the range of inflation rates observed in the sample countries, there is no evidence of sand effects, that uncertainty associated with inflation adversely affect the long-run rate of unemployment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2722.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2722

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Keywords: Inflation; Natural Rate Of Unemployment;

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References

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  1. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Seminar Papers 614, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
  3. Holden, Steinar, 1994. "Wage bargaining and nominal rigidities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1021-1039, May.
  4. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, octubre-d.
    • Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, octubre-d.
  6. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1997. "Identifying Inflation's Grease and Sand Effects in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 6061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stanley Fischer, 1996. "Why are central banks pursuing long-run price stability?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 7-34.
  8. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1996. "Inflation and growth: in search of a stable relationship," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 139-146.
  9. Gruen, David & Pagan, Adrian & Thompson, Christopher, 1999. "The Phillips curve in Australia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 223-258, October.
  10. Caprio,Gerard & Honohan,Patrick & Stiglitz,Joseph E. (ed.), 2001. "Financial Liberalization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521803694, October.
  11. Wyplosz, Charles, 1999. "Financial Restraints and Liberalization in Postwar Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 2253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Edmund Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 2001. "Structural booms," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 83-126, 04.
  13. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  14. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345.
  15. Debelle, Guy & Vickery, James, 1998. "Is the Phillips Curve a Curve? Some Evidence and Implications for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(227), pages 384-98, December.
  16. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  17. 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.
  18. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1996. "Inflation and growth: in search of a stable relationship," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 139-146.
  19. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
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