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Optimal Inflation for the US Economy

  • Roberto M. Billi

This paper studies the optimal long-run inflation rate (OIR) in a small New Keynesian model, where the only policy instrument is a short-term nominal interest rate that may occasionally run against a zero lower bound (ZLB). The model allows for worst-case scenarios of misspecification. The analysis shows first, if the government optimally commits, the OIR is below 1 percent annually. Second, if the government re-optimizes each period, the OIR rises markedly to 17 percent. Third, if the government commits only to an inertial Taylor rule, the inflation bias is eliminated at very low cost in terms of welfare for the representative household. (JEL E12, E31, E43, E52, E58)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.3.3.29
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/data/2008-0080_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 29-52

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:29-52
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.3.29
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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  1. Olivier Jeanne & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2007. "Credible Commitment to Optimal Escape from a Liquidity Trap: The Role of the Balance Sheet of an Independent Central Bank," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 474-490, March.
  2. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  3. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2005. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Research Working Paper RWP 05-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Dennis, Richard & Leitemo, Kai & Söderström, Ulf, 2006. "Methods for Robust Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 5638, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Robustly Optimal Monetary Policy with Near Rational Expectations," NBER Working Papers 11896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  8. Manuel S. Santos, 2000. "Accuracy of Numerical Solutions using the Euler Equation Residuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1377-1402, November.
  9. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 825-860.
  10. Giordani, Paolo & Söderlind, Paul, 2002. "Solution of Macromodels with Hansen-Sargent Robust Policies: Some Extensions," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 499, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 15 May 2003.
  11. David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  12. Eggertsson, Gauti B., 2006. "The Deflation Bias and Committing to Being Irresponsible," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 283-321, March.
  13. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Macroeconomics 0510022, EconWPA.
  14. Andrew Levin & David López-Salido & Edward Nelson & Yack Yun, 2010. "Limitations on the Effectiveness of Forward Guidance at the Zero Lower Bound," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 6(1), pages 143-189, March.
  15. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
  17. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium, I: Observable Actions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1799, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  19. Reifschneider, David & Willams, John C, 2000. "Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 936-66, November.
  20. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2005. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  21. Bernanke, Ben S. & Woodford, Michael (ed.), 2005. "The Inflation-Targeting Debate," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226044712.
  22. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  24. John C. Williams, 2009. "Heeding Daedalus: Optimal Inflation and the Zero Lower Bound," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 1-49.
  25. Jung, Taehun & Teranishi, Yuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy at the Zero-Interest-Rate Bound," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 813-35, October.
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