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Optimal Price Indices for Targeting Inflation Under Incomplete Markets

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  • Rahul Anand
  • Eswar S. Prasad

Abstract

In models with complete markets, targeting core inflation enables monetary policy to maximize welfare by replicating the flexible price equilibrium. In this paper, we develop a two-sector two-good closed economy new Keynesian model to study the optimal choice of price index in markets with financial frictions. Financial frictions that limit credit-constrained consumers' access to financial markets make demand insensitive to interest rate fluctuations. The demand of credit-constrained consumers is determined by their real wage, which depends on prices in the flexible price sector. Thus, prices in the flexible price sector influence aggregate demand and, for monetary policy to have its desired effect, the central bank has to stabilize price movements in the flexible price sector. Also, in the presence of financial frictions, stabilizing core inflation is no longer equivalent to stabilizing output fluctuations. Our analysis suggests that in the presence of financial frictions a welfare-maximizing central bank should adopt flexible headline inflation targeting—a target based on headline rather than core inflation, and with some weight on the output gap. We discuss why these results are particularly relevant for emerging markets, where the share of food expenditures in total consumption expenditures is high and a large proportion of consumers are credit-constrained.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16290.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16290

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Cited by:
  1. Marc Pourroy & Benjamin Carton & Dramane Coulibaly, 2012. "Food Prices and Inflation Targeting in Emerging Economies," Working Papers 2012-33, CEPII research center.
  2. Prasad, Eswar, 2013. "Distributional Effects of Macroeconomic Policy Choices in Emerging Market Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 7777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Changyong Rhee & Hangyong Lee, 2013. "Commodity price movements and monetary policy in Asia," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Globalisation and inflation dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, volume 70, pages 71-77 Bank for International Settlements.
  4. Plante, Michael, 2014. "The long-run macroeconomic impacts of fuel subsidies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 129-143.
  5. Paolo Pesenti, 2013. "Theoretical notes on commodity prices and monetary policy," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Globalisation and inflation dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, volume 70, pages 79-90 Bank for International Settlements.
  6. José de Gregorio, 2012. "Commodity Prices, Monetary Policy and Inflation," Working Papers wp359, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  7. Michael Plante Author-X-Name-First: Michael Author-X-Name-Last: Plante, 2013. "TheLong-RunMacroeconomicImpactsofFuelSubsidies," Caepr Working Papers 2013-002, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.

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