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Price-level targeting and risk management in a low-inflation economy

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  • Roberto Billi

Abstract

With inflation and policy interest rates at historically low levels, policymakers show great concern about "downside tail risks" due to a zero lower bound on nominal interest rates. Low probability or tail events, such as sustained deflation or recession, are disruptive for the economy and can be difficult to resolve. This paper shows that price-level targeting mitigates downside tail risks respect to inflation targeting when policy is conducted through a simple interest-rate rule subject to a zero lower bound. Thus, price-level targeting is a more effective policy framework than inflation targeting for the management of downside tail risks in a low-inflation economy. At the same time, the average performance of the economy is not very different if policy implements price-level targeting instead of inflation targeting through a simple interest-rate rule. Price-level targeting may imply less variability of inflation than inflation targeting because policymakers can shape private-sector expectations about future inflation more effectively by targeting directly the price level path rather than inflation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 08-09.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp08-09

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  1. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency : Gesell's solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Wolman, Alexander L, 2005. "Real Implications of the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 273-96, April.
  3. Anton Nakov, 2008. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(2), pages 73-127, June.
  4. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper Series 0377, European Central Bank.
  5. Günter Coenen & Volker W. Wieland, 2004. "Exchange-Rate Policy and the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 80-84, May.
  6. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2007. "Optimal simple and implementable monetary and fiscal rules," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1702-1725, September.
  7. Wieland, Volker & Coenen, Günter, 2004. "Exchange-rate policy and the zero bound on nominal interest," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  8. Marvin Goodfriend, 2000. "Overcoming the zero bound on interest rate policy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 1007-1057.
  9. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Roberto M. Billi, 2007. "Optimal inflation for the U.S," Research Working Paper RWP 07-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  11. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  12. Vítor Gaspar & Frank Smets & David Vestin, 2007. "Is Time Ripe for Price Level Path Stability?," Working Papers w200719, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  13. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Marc P. Giannoni, 2012. "Optimal interest rate rules and inflation stabilization versus price-level stabilization," Staff Reports 546, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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