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What Measure of Inflation Should a Central Bank Target?

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Ricardo Reis

Abstract

This paper assumes that a central bank commits itself to maintaining an inflation target and then asks what measure of the inflation rate the central bank should use if it wants to maximize economic stability. The paper first formalizes this problem and examines its microeconomic foundations. It then shows how the weight of a sector in the stability price index depends on the sector's characteristics, including size, cyclical sensitivity, sluggishness of price adjustment, and magnitude of sectoral shocks. When a numerical illustration of the problem is calibrated to U.S. data, one tentative conclusion is that a central bank that wants to achieve maximum stability of economic activity should use a price index that gives substantial weight to the level of nominal wages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9375.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Publication status: published as N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "What Measure of Inflation Should a Central Bank Target?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1058-1086, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9375

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  1. Wynne, Mark A., 1999. "Core inflation: a review of some conceptual issues," Working Paper Series 0005, European Central Bank.
  2. Steinsson, Jon, 2003. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1425-1456, October.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal To Replace The New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328, November.
  4. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  5. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  6. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  7. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2001. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Currency Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 2755, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  9. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203, April.
  10. Edmund Phelps, 1978. "Disinflation without recession: Adaptive guideposts and monetary policy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 114(4), pages 783-809, December.
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