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Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare

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  • Doepke, Matthias
  • Schneider, Martin

Abstract

Episodes of unanticipated inflation reduce the real value of nominal claims and thus redistribute wealth from lenders to borrowers. In this study, we consider redistribution as a channel for aggregate and welfare effects of inflation. We model an inflation episode as an unanticipated shock to the wealth distribution in a quantitative overlapping-generations model of the U.S. economy. While the redistribution shock is zero sum, households react asymmetrically, mostly because borrowers are younger on average than lenders. As a result, inflation generates a decrease in labour supply as well as an increase in savings. Even though inflation-induced redistribution has a persistent negative effect on output, it improves the weighted welfare of domestic households.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5939.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5939

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Keywords: aggregate effects; inflation; redistribution; welfare;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Glover, Andrew & Heathcote, Jonathan & Krueger, Dirk & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2014. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," Staff Report 498, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
  3. Evan F. Koenig, 2013. "Like a Good Neighbor: Monetary Policy, Financial Stability, and the Distribution of Risk," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(2), pages 57-82, June.
  4. Meh, Césaire A. & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Terajima, Yaz, 2010. "Aggregate and welfare effects of redistribution of wealth under inflation and price-level targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 637-652, September.
  5. Sunel, Enes, 2012. "Transitional Dynamics of Disinflation in a Small Open Economy with Heterogeneous Agents," MPRA Paper 39690, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Sunel, Enes, 2010. "On inflation, wealth inequality and welfare in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 25943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Geert Bekaert & Xiaozheng Wang, 2010. "Inflation risk and the inflation risk premium," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 755-806, October.
  8. Scott Dressler, 2012. "A Long-run, Short-run, and Politico-Economic Analysis of the Welfare Costs of Inflation," 2012 Meeting Papers 546, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Yaz Terajima & Jose-Victor Rıos-Rull & Cesaire A. Meh & Shutao Cao, 2010. "Inflation, Nominal Debt, Housing, and Welfare," 2010 Meeting Papers 979, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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