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Inflation, nominal portfolios, and wealth redistribution in Canada

  • Césaire A. Meh
  • Yaz Terajima

This paper quantifies the redistributional effects of inflation in Canada that arise through the revaluation of nominal assets and liabilities. We find that the effects are non-trivial even for low inflation episodes. The main winners are young, middle-class households with mortgage debt. The government receives a windfall gain from its long-term debt. The old, the rich or the middle-aged, middle-class lose, largely owing to their holdings of bonds and non-indexed defined benefit pension assets. Finally, our Canada-U.S. comparison reveals that the extent of redistributions can be quite different even between countries of similar economic and legal environments.

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Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1369-1402

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:44:y:2011:i:4:p:1369-1402
Contact details of provider: Postal: Canadian Economics Association Prof. Steven Ambler, Secretary-Treasurer c/o Olivier Lebert, CEA/CJE/CPP Office C.P. 35006, 1221 Fleury Est Montréal, Québec, Canada H2C 3K4
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  1. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2006. "Government finance in the wake of currency crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 401-440, April.
  2. Andrés Erosa & Gustavo Ventura, 2000. "On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20001, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, regulations, and the value of U.S. and U.K. corporations," Staff Report 309, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Allan M. Maslove & J. C. R. Rowley, 1975. "Inflation and Redistribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 8(3), pages 399-409, August.
  5. Mats Persson & Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Debt, Cash Flow and Inflation Incentives: A Swedish Example," NBER Working Papers 5772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bach, G L & Stephenson, James B, 1974. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Wealth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-13, February.
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