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Price-Level Changes And The Redistribution Of Nominal Wealth Across The Euro Area

Listed author(s):
  • Klaus Adam
  • Junyi Zhu

We document the presence of sizable nominal wealth redistribution effects from unexpected price level movements in the Euro Area (EA), using sectoral accounts and newly available data from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. The EA as a whole is a net loser of unexpected price level decreases, with Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain losing most in per capita terms, and Belgium and Malta being net winners. Governments are net losers of unexpected deflation, while the household (HH) sector is a net winner in the EA as a whole. HHs in Belgium, Ireland, Malta and Germany experience the biggest per capita gains, while HHs in Finland and Spain turn out to be net losers. Considerable heterogeneity exists also within the HH sector: relatively young middle class HHs are net losers of unanticipated deflation, while older and richer HHs are winners. As a result, wealth inequality in the EA increases with unexpected deflation, although in some countries (Austria, Germany and Malta) inequality decreases due to the presence of relatively few young borrowing HHs. We document that HHs inflation exposure varies systematically across countries, with HHs in EA countries that experienced high inflation holding systematically lower nominal exposures.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.2016.14.issue-4
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 14 (2016)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 871-906

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:4:p:871-906
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  1. Albanesi, Stefania, 2007. "Inflation and inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1088-1114, May.
  2. Charles Engel & Kenneth D. West, 2005. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 485-517, June.
  3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Lorenz Kueng & John Silvia, 2012. "Innocent Bystanders? Monetary Policy and Inequality in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 18170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1069-1097, December.
  5. Gornemann, Nils & Kuester, Keith & Nakajima, Makoto, 2016. "Doves for the Rich, Hawks for the Poor? Distributional Consequences of Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 11233, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
  7. Kavonius, Ilja Kristian & Honkkila, Juha, 2013. "Micro and macro analysis on household income, wealth and saving in the euro area," Working Paper Series 1619, European Central Bank.
  8. Césaire A. Meh & Yaz Terajima, 2011. "Inflation, nominal portfolios, and wealth redistribution in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1369-1402, November.
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