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Incomplete markets and households’ exposure to interest rate and inflation risk: implications for the monetary policy maker

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  • Andrea Pescatori

Abstract

The present paper studies optimal monetary policy when the representative agent assumption is abandoned and financial wealth heterogeneity across households is introduced. Incomplete markets make households incapable of perfectly insuring against interest rate and inflation risk, creating a trade-off between price level and debt-servicing stabilization. We derive a welfare-based loss function for the policymaker, which includes an additional target related to the cross-sectional distribution of household debt. The extent of the deviation from price stability depends on the initial level of debt dispersion. Using U.S. microdata to calibrate the model, we find an optimal inflation volatility equal to almost 20 percent of the actual volatility of the last 15 years. Finally, the paper studies the design of optimal simple implementable rules. Superinertial rules, which imply a hump-shaped interest rate response to shocks, significantly outperform standard rules.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0709.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0709

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Interest rates ; Inflation (Finance) ; Consumer credit;

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References

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  1. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sbordone, Argia, 1998. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Seminar Papers 653, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Albanesi, Stefania, 2002. "Inflation and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3470, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 825-860, October.
  5. Jianjun Miao, 2003. "Competitive Equilibria of Economies with a Continuum of Consumers and Aggregate Shocks," Macroeconomics 0310001, EconWPA.
  6. Eric R Young, 2005. "Approximate Aggregation," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 141, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000394, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary Policy Analysis in Models Without Money," NBER Working Papers 8174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
  11. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Closing Small Open Economy Models," Departmental Working Papers 200115, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  14. Henry Kim & Jinill Kim & Robert Kollmann, 2005. "Applying Perturbation Methods to Incomplete Market Models with Exogenous Borrowing Constraints," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0504, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  15. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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Cited by:
  1. Jae Won Lee, 2014. "Monetary Policy with Heterogeneous Households and Imperfect Risk-Sharing," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(3), pages 505-522, July.

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