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Inflation persistence: alternative interpretations and policy implications

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  • Argia M. Sbordone

Abstract

In this paper, I consider the policy implications of two alternative structural interpretations of observed inflation persistence, which correspond to two alternative specifications of the new Keynesian Phillips curve (NKPC). The first specification allows for some degree of intrinsic persistence by way of a lagged inflation term in the NKPC. The second is a purely forward-looking model, in which expectations farther into the future matter and coefficients are time-varying. In this specification, most of the observed inflation persistence is attributed to fluctuations in the underlying inflation trend, which are a consequence of monetary policy rather than a structural feature of the economy. With a simple quantitative exercise, I illustrate the consequences of implementing monetary policy, assuming a degree of intrinsic persistence that differs from the true one. The results suggest that the costs of implementing a stabilization policy when the policymaker overestimates the degree of intrinsic persistence are potentially higher than the costs of ignoring actual structural persistence; the result is more clear-cut when the policymaker minimizes a welfare-based loss function.>

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 286.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:286

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Keywords: Phillips curve ; Inflation (Finance) ; Monetary policy;

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  1. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark & David Lopez-Salido, J., 2005. "Robustness of the estimates of the hybrid New Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1107-1118, September.
  2. Andrew T. Levin & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Working Paper Series 2003-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Guido Ascari & Tiziano Ropele, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy under low trend inflation," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 647, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. William Brock & Steven Durlauf & Kenneth West, 2005. "Model uncertainty and policy evaluation: some theory and empirics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark & Lopez-Salido, J. David, 2001. "European inflation dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1237-1270.
  9. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
  10. Guido Ascari, 2004. "Staggered prices and trend inflation: some nuisances," Macroeconomics 0404029, EconWPA.
  11. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2006. "Trend inflation and inflation persistence in the New Keynesian Phillips curve," Staff Reports 270, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Steinsson, Jon, 2003. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1425-1456, October.
  13. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  14. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  15. Andrew T.. Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 1999. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 263-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Filippo Altissimo & Laurent Bilke & Andrew Levin & Thomas Mathä & Benoit Mojon, 2006. "Sectoral and Aggregate Inflation Dynamics in the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 585-593, 04-05.
  17. Argia M. Sbordone, 2006. "U.S. Wage and Price Dynamics: A Limited-Information Approach," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(3), September.
  18. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2005. "A search for a structural Phillips curve," Staff Reports 203, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  19. Sbordone, Argia M., 2005. "Do expected future marginal costs drive inflation dynamics?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1183-1197, September.
  20. Pivetta, Frederic & Reis, Ricardo, 2007. "The persistence of inflation in the United States," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 1326-1358, April.
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