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How Inflation Affects Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Investigation

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  • Quamrul Ashraf
  • Boris Gershman
  • Peter Howitt

Abstract

We use an agent-based computational approach to show how inflation can worsen macroeconomic performance by disrupting the mechanism of exchange in a decentralized market economy. We find that increasing the trend rate of inflation above 3 percent has a substantial deleterious effect, but lowering it below 3 percent has no significant macroeconomic consequences. Our finding remains qualitatively robust to changes in parameter values and to modifications to our model that partly address the Lucas critique. Finally, we contribute a novel explanation for why cross-country regressions may fail to detect a significant negative effect of trend inflation on output even when such an effect exists in reality.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18225.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18225

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  1. Guido Ascari, 2004. "Staggered Prices and Trend Inflation: Some Nuisances," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 642-667, July.
  2. Quamrul Ashraf & Boris Gershman & Peter Howitt, 2011. "Banks, Market Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis," NBER Working Papers 17102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph H. Haslag, 1997. "Output, growth, welfare, and inflation: a survey," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 11-21.
  4. Pierre Fortin, 1996. "The Great Canadian Slump," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 761-87, November.
  5. Allen Head & Alok Kumar, 2004. "Price Dispersion, Inflation and Welfare," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000241, www.najecon.org.
  6. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
  7. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Parsley, David C, 1996. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability in the Short and Long Run: New Evidence from the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 323-41, August.
  9. Ragan, Christopher, 1998. "On the Believable Benefits of Low Inflation," Working Papers 98-15, Bank of Canada.
  10. Christophe Deissenberg & Sander Van Der Hoog & Herbert Dawid, 2008. "EURACE: A Massively Parallel Agent-Based Model of the European Economy," Working Papers halshs-00339756, HAL.
  11. Guy Debelle & Owen Lamont, 1996. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: Evidence from US Cities," NBER Working Papers 5627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert Lucas & Mike Golosov, 2004. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," 2004 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Stockman, Alan C., 1981. "Anticipated inflation and the capital stock in a cash in-advance economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 387-393.
  14. Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2008. "Schumpeter Meeting Keynes: A Policy-Friendly Model of Endogenous Growth and Business Cycles," LEM Papers Series 2008/21, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  15. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
  16. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  17. Bullard, James & Keating, John W., 1995. "The long-run relationship between inflation and output in postwar economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 477-496, December.
  18. Tack Yun, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Relative Price Distortions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 89-109, March.
  19. Peter Howitt, 2006. "The Microfoundations of the Keynesian Multiplier Process," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 33-44, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Quamrul Ashraf & Boris Gershman & Peter Howitt, 2011. "Banks, Market Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis," NBER Working Papers 17102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ricetti, Luca & Russo, Alberto & Gallegati, Mauro, 2013. "Unemployment benefits and financial leverage in an agent based macroeconomic model," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 7(42), pages 1-44.
  3. Howitt, Peter & Özak, Ömer, 2014. "Adaptive consumption behavior," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 37-61.
  4. Edoardo Gaffeo & Mauro Gallegati & Umberto Gostoli, 2012. "An agent-based "proof of principle" for Walrasian macroeconomic theory," CEEL Working Papers 1202, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

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