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Targeting Inflation, The Effects of Monetary Policy on the CPI and Its Housing Component

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  • Dimitri B. Papadimitriou
  • L. Randall Wray

Abstract

The targets for monetary policy adopted by the Fed in recent years have not proven to be closely correlated with inflation, leading some theorists and policymakers to advocate the use of a price index, such as the consumer price index (CPI), as both the target and the goal of monetary policy. Executive Director Dimitri B. Papadimitriou and Research Associate L. Randall Wray show that such a choice is not wise because the CPI does not accurately reflect market-caused price increases and is not under the control of monetary policy. Their analysis extends beyond that of recent reports to show how and why the transmission mechanisms through which monetary policy is thought to affect the CPI are tenuous at best. The authors focus on the housing component of the CPI to illustrate their point. They conclude that those components of the CPI that to affect have been declining in importance, meaning that to produce a given reduction in the overall rate of inflation will require that monetary policy have an increasingly larger impact on an ever-diminishing portion of the consumer basket. Therefore, careful reconsideration of an alternative ultimate target, such as the rate of economic growth or the unemployment rate, is warranted.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Public Policy Brief Archive with number ppb_27.

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Handle: RePEc:lev:levppb:ppb_27

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  1. Mark A. Wynne & Fiona Sigalla, 1993. "A survey of measurement biases in price indexes," Research Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 9340, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Daniel L. Thornton, 1988. "The borrowed-reserves operating procedures: theory and evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 30-54.
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Cited by:
  1. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 1998. "Linking the Minimum Wage to Productivity," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 9802015, EconWPA.
  2. L. Randall Wray, . "Why Does The Fed Want Slower Growth?," Economics Policy Note Archive, Levy Economics Institute 00-7, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 1997. "Linking the Minimum Wage to Productivity," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_219, Levy Economics Institute.
  4. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, . "Automatic Adjustment of the Minimum Wage, Linking the Minimum Wage to Productivity," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive, Levy Economics Institute ppb_42, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. L. Randall Wray, 2007. "A Post-Keynesian View of Central Bank Independence, Policy Targets, and the Rules-versus-Discretion Debate," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_510, Levy Economics Institute.

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