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Measuring the Welfare Costs of Inflation in a Life-cycle Model

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  • Paul Gomme

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Concordia University)

Abstract

In macroeconomics, life-cycle models are typically used to address exclusively life-cycle issues. This paper shows that modeling the life-cycle may be important when addressing public policy issues, in this case the welfare costs of inflation. In the representative agent model, the optimal inflation rate is characterized by the Friedman rule: deflate at the real interest rate. In the corresponding life-cycle model, the optimal inflation rate is quite high: for the benchmark calibration, it is around 95% per annum. Much of the paper is concerned with understanding this result. Briefly, in the life-cycle model there are distributional consequences of injecting money via lump-sum transfers. The net effect is to transfer income from old, rich agents to young, poor ones. These transfers twist the age-utility profile in a way that agents find desirable from a lifetime utility point of view. A second issue concerns how to assess the costs of inflation in a life-cycle model. Metrics that are equivalent in the representative agent model can give very different answers in a life-cycle model.

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File URL: http://alcor.concordia.ca/~pgomme/life-cycle-money.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08001.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:08001

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Keywords: monetary policy; inflation; welfare costs; life-cycle model;

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  1. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  2. Cooley, Thomas F. & Hansen, Gary D., 1992. "Tax distortions in a neoclassical monetary economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 290-316, December.
  3. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1988. "The Inflation Tax In A Real Business Cycle Model," RCER Working Papers 155, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 283-96, April.
  5. Andrés Erosa & Gustavo Ventura, 2000. "On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20001, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  6. Gomme, Paul & Rupert, Peter, 2007. "Theory, measurement and calibration of macroeconomic models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 460-497, March.
  7. Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The welfare cost of inflation under imperfect insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 79-91, January.
  8. Michael Dotsey & Peter Ireland, 1994. "The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium," Working Paper 94-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  9. Ireland, Peter N, 1994. "Money and Growth: An Alternative Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 47-65, March.
  10. Hugett, M. & Ventura, G., 1997. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9710, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  11. Klein, Paul, 2000. "Using the generalized Schur form to solve a multivariate linear rational expectations model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1405-1423, September.
  12. Gillman, Max, 1993. "The welfare cost of inflation in a cash-in-advance economy with costly credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 97-115, February.
  13. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Life-Cycle Economies and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 465-89, July.
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