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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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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
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Woodford, Michael, 2005. "Robustly optimal monetary policy with near-rational expectations," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/12, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  8. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2005. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Research Working Paper RWP 05-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  9. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper Series 0377, European Central Bank.
  10. 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.
  11. Richard Dennis & Kai Leitemo & Ulf Soderstrom, 2006. "Methods for Robust Control," 2006 Meeting Papers 493, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226044712 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  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. Manuel S. Santos, 2000. "Accuracy of Numerical Solutions using the Euler Equation Residuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1377-1402, November.
  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.
  26. 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.
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