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The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?

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  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

    (UC Berkeley)

  • Johannes Wieland

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Olivier Coibion

    (College of William and Mary)

Abstract

We study the effects of positive steady-state inflation in New Keynesian models subject to the zero bound on interest rates. We derive the utility-based welfare loss function taking into account the effects of positive steady-state inflation and solve for the optimal level of inflation in the model. For plausible calibrations with costly but infrequent episodes at the zero-lower bound, the optimal inflation rate is low, typically less than two percent, even after considering a variety of extensions, including optimal stabilization policy, price indexation, endogenous and state- dependent price stickiness, capital formation, model-uncertainty, and downward nominal wage rigidities. On the normative side, price level targeting delivers large welfare gains and a very low optimal inflation rate consistent with price stability. These results suggest that raising the inflation target is too blunt an instrument to efficiently reduce the severe costs of zero-bound episodes.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 70.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:70

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  1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Olivier Coibion, 2009. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation: An Alternative Interpretation," 2009 Meeting Papers 21, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Guido Ascari & Tiziano Ropele, 2005. "Trend Inflation, Taylor Principle and Indeterminacy," Working Papers 93, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  3. Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," NBER Working Papers 15826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2010. "Optimal Target Criteria for Stabilization Policy," Discussion Papers 0910-10, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Robert Amano & Malik Shukayev, 2012. "Risk Premium Shocks and the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(8), pages 1475-1505, December.
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  7. Ariel Burstein & Christian Hellwig, 2008. "Welfare Costs of Inflation in a Menu Cost Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 438-43, May.
  8. V. Bhaskar, 1998. "On Endogenously Staggered Prices," Macroeconomics 9809007, EconWPA.
  9. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," Working Papers 91, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  10. Kim, Jinill & Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2009. "How much inflation is necessary to grease the wheels?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 365-377, April.
  11. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2006. "How wages change: micro evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Working Paper 0620, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  12. Romer, David, 1990. "Staggered price setting with endogenous frequency of adjustment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 205-210, March.
  13. Burnside, Craig, 1996. "Production function regressions, returns to scale, and externalities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 177-201, April.
  14. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Optimal Inflation for the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-52, July.
  15. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Serena Ng, 2009. "Estimation of DSGE Models When the Data are Persistent," NBER Working Papers 15187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Michael Kiley, 2004. "Is Moderate-To-High Inflation Inherently Unstable?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 193, Econometric Society.
  17. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
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  19. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles and the Benefits of Stabilization: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Is it possible to raise the inflation target?
    by Mainly Macro in Mainly Macro on 2013-08-06 10:17:00
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Cited by:
  1. Hatcher, Michael C. & Minford, Patrick, 2013. "Stabilization policy, rational expectations and price-level versus inflation targeting: a survey," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2013/14, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  2. William B. English & J. David López-Salido & Robert J. Tetlow, 2013. "The Federal Reserve's framework for monetary policy - recent changes and new questions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-76, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Sergio A. Lago Alves, 2013. "Is the Divine Coincidence Just a Coincidence? The Implications of Trend Inflation," Working Papers Series 329, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
  4. Ahrens, Steffen & Snower, Dennis J., 2012. "Envy, guilt, and the Phillips curve," Economics Working Papers 2012-01, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  5. repec:jhu:papers:607 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Song, Jae & Stolyarov, Dmitriy, 2013. "Macroeconomic Determinants of Retirement Timing," IZA Discussion Papers 7744, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Kaufmann, Daniel & Bäurle, Gregor, 2013. "Exchange Rate and Price Dynamics at the Zero Lower Bound," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79872, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. William T. Gavin & Benjamin D. Keen & Alexander Richter & Nathaniel Throckmorton, 2013. "Global dynamics at the zero lower bound," Working Papers 2013-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2013. "Is The Phillips Curve Alive and Well After All? Inflation Expectations and the Missing Disinflation," NBER Working Papers 19598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Michael Weber, 2013. "Are Sticky Prices Costly? Evidence From The Stock Market," NBER Working Papers 18860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Patrizio Tirelli & Nicola Acocella, 2013. "The comeback of inflation as an optimal public finance tool," Working Papers 263, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2013.

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