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Controlling the Price Level

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  • Robert E. Hall

Abstract

. Governments determine the size of the unit of value just as they determine the length and weight of physical units of measure. What are the different ways that a government can control the size of the unit of value, that is, control the price level? In general, the government designates a resource—gold, paper currency, another country's currency—and defines its unit of value as a particular amount of that resource. An interesting variant, proposed by Irving Fisher in 1913 and implemented more recently in Chile, is to alter the resource content of the unit to stabilize the price level. Another idea is to alter the interest rate paid on reserves in a way that stabilizes the price level. This essay originally appeared as “Controlling the Price Level,”Contributions to Macroeconomics 2(1), Article 5. See http://www.bepress.com/bejm/contributions/vol2/iss1/art5. Reprinted with kind permission of the Berkeley Electronic Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Controlling the Price Level," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 93-112, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:64:y:2005:i:1:p:93-112
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.2005.00352.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1536-7150.2005.00352.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hall, Robert E., 1983. "Optimal fiduciary monetary systems," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 33-50.
    2. John H. Cochrane, 1999. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 323-421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert J. Shiller, 2002. "Indexed Units of Account: Theory and Assessment of Historical Experience," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Fernando Lefort & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Serie (ed.),Indexation, Inflation and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 105-134, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    5. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 5(Fall).
    6. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
    7. Robert E. Hall, 1982. "Explorations in the Gold Standard and Related Policies for Stabilizing the Dollar," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 111-122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 345-380.
    9. James Tobin, 1998. "Monetary Policy: Recent Theory and Practice," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1187, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Don Patinkin, 1993. "Irving Fisher and his compensated dollar plan," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 1-34.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Ghost Money: Chile's Unidad de Fomento
      by JP Koning in Moneyness on 2013-09-23 19:57:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Buiter, Willem H., 2006. "The elusive welfare economics of price stability as a monetary policy objective: why New Keynesian central bankers should validate core inflation," Working Paper Series 609, European Central Bank.
    2. Buiter, Willem H., 2009. "Negative nominal interest rates: Three ways to overcome the zero lower bound," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 213-238, December.
    3. Mark G. Guzman, 2008. "The Impact Of Paying Interest On Reserves In The Presence Of Government Deficit Financing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 624-642, October.
    4. Chadha, Jagjit S. & Corrado, Luisa, 2012. "Macro-prudential policy on liquidity: What does a DSGE model tell us?," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 37-62.
    5. Rebeca Gomez Betancourt & Jérôme de Boyer des Roches, 2013. "Origins and developments of Irving Fisher's compensated dollar plan," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 261-283, April.
    6. George Bratsiotis, 2018. "Credit Risk, Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy: The Deposits Channel," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 243, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    7. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Monetary policy in the information economy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 297-370.
    8. Richard C.K. Burdekin & Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2012. "Irving Fisher and Price‐Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 733-750, June.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10190 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Cochrane, John H., 2014. "Monetary policy with interest on reserves," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 74-108.
    11. Willem H. Buiter, 2004. "The Elusive Welfare Economics of Price Stability as a Monetary Policy Objective: Should New Keynesian Central Bankers Pursue Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 10848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Charles Goodhart, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," FMG Special Papers sp125, Financial Markets Group.
    13. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ennio Stacchetti, 1999. "Technology (and Policy) Shocks in Models of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 7063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Bratsiotis, George, 2018. "Credit Risk, Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy: The Deposits Channel," EconStor Preprints 172770, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    15. Jan Marc Berk, 2002. "Banca centrale e innovazione finanziaria. Una rassegna della letteratura recente," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 55(220), pages 345-385.
    16. Jan Marc Berk, 2002. "Central banking and financial innovation. A survey of the modern literature," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 55(222), pages 263-297.
    17. Michael Woodford, 2002. "Financial market efficiency and the effectiveness of monetary policy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 8(May), pages 85-94.
    18. George J. Bratsiotis, 2018. "Credit Risk, Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy: The Deposits," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 236, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    19. Jan Marc Berk, 2002. "Central banking and financial innovation. A survey of the modern literature," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 55(222), pages 263-297.
    20. George J. Bratsiotis, 2016. "Liquidity Regulation, Monetary Policy and Welfare," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 228, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.

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    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System

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