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On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax

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Evidence on the portfolio holdings and transaction patterns of households suggests that the burden of inflation is not evenly distributed. We build a monetary growth model consistent with key features of cross- sectional household data and use this framework to study the distributional impact of inflation. At the aggregate level, our model economy behaves similarly to standard monetary growth models within the representative agent abstraction. Inflation has, however, important distributional effects since it is effectively a regressive consumption tax. Thus, neglecting the distributional consequences of inflation may prove misleading in assessing the effects of inflation in our economy.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 20001.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20001

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Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 283-96, April.
  2. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Corbae, Dean, 1992. "Endogenous Market Participation and the General Equilibrium Value of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 615-46, June.
  3. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2001. "Inflation and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 160-78, May.
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  6. Attanasio, Orazio & Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 1998. "The Demand for Money, Financial Innovation and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: An Analysis with Households' Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 1927, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1998. "Monetary policy and the well-being of the poor," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 159-201.
  8. Robert B. Avery & Gregory E. Elliehausen & Arthur B. Kennickell & Paul A. Spindt, 1986. "The use of cash and transaction accounts by American families," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Feb, pages 87-108.
  9. David Altig & Charles T. Carlstrom, 1991. "Inflation, personal taxes, and real output: a dynamic analysis," Working Paper 9102, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
  11. Al-Marhubi, Fahim, 1997. "A note on the link between income inequality and inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 317-319, September.
  12. Harold L. Cole & Alan C. Stockman, 1988. "Specialization, Transactions Technologies, and Money Growth," NBER Working Papers 2724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  15. Dotsey, Michael & Ireland, Peter, 1996. "The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-47, February.
  16. Robert B. Avery & Gregory E. Elliehausen & Arthur B. Kennickell & Paul A. Spindt, 1987. "Changes in the use of transaction accounts and cash from 1984 to 1986," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Mar, pages 179-196.
  17. Gillman, Max, 1993. "The welfare cost of inflation in a cash-in-advance economy with costly credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 97-115, February.
  18. Case M. Sprenkle, 1993. "The Case of the Missing Currency," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 175-184, Fall.
  19. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Edward C. Prescott, 1991. "Evaluating the welfare effects of alternative monetary arrangements," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-10.
  20. Kessler, Denis & Wolff, Edward N, 1991. "A Comparative Analysis of Household Wealth Patterns in France and the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 249-66, September.
  21. Mercenier, Jean & Michel, Philippe, 1994. "Discrete-Time Finite Horizon Appromixation of Infinite Horizon Optimization Problems with Steady-State Invariance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 635-56, May.
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