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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Jeanne, Olivier & Svensson, Lars E O, 2004. "Credible Commitment to Optimal Escape from a Liquidity Trap: The Role of the Balance Sheet of an Independent Central Bank," CEPR Discussion Papers 4599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David L. 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.
  5. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Macroeconomics 0510022, EconWPA.
  7. 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.
  8. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2002. "Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2007. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 728-752, April.
  11. Roberto M. Billi & George A. Kahn, 2008. "What is the optimal inflation rate?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 5-28.
  12. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium: I. Observable Actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 191-219, October.
  13. Levin, Andrew & López-Salido, J David & Nelson, Edward & Yun, Tack, 2009. "Limitations on the Effectiveness of Forward Guidance at the Zero Lower Bound," CEPR Discussion Papers 7581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Woodford, Michael, 2005. "Robustly optimal monetary policy with near-rational expectations," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/12, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  15. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2004. "Solution of macromodels with Hansen-Sargent robust policies: some extensions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2367-2397, December.
  16. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226044712 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. 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.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  19. 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.
  20. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Dennis, Richard & Leitemo, Kai & Söderström, Ulf, 2009. "Methods for robust control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1604-1616, August.
  23. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  24. 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.
  25. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  26. Manuel S. Santos, 2000. "Accuracy of Numerical Solutions using the Euler Equation Residuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1377-1402, November.
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