IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Canadian Experience with Targets for Inflation Control


  • Gordon G. Thiessen


This article reflects on Canada's experience with inflation targeting in the 1990s. The discussion opens with a synopsis of the evolution of inflation targets against a backdrop of other monetary policy approaches. The author then proceeds to outline the main advantages of explicit inflation targets - advantages that go beyond the well-known benefits of low inflation. Increased transparency and accountability, and an improvement in the Bank's internal decision making, are highlighted in particular. It is also argued that inflation targets provide a useful mechanism for dealing with demand and supply shocks in a way that reduces disruptive fluctuations. The major criticisms of targeting low rates of inflation (related to wage rigidity, a zero floor on nominal interest rates, and concerns about deflation) are also examined. Although it is too early for definitive conclusions, the author's view is that inflation targets lead to better policy decisions, better economic performance over time, and greater accountability for autonomous central banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon G. Thiessen, 1998. "The Canadian Experience with Targets for Inflation Control," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(4), pages 415-428, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:4:p:415-428

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: only available to JSTOR subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 9-110.
    2. Charles Freedman & Tiff Macklem, 1998. "A Comment on "The Great Canadian Slump"," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 646-665, August.
    3. Miguel A Savastano & Paul R Masson & Sunil Sharma, 1997. "The Scope for Inflation Targeting in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 97/130, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
    5. Gordon Thiessen, 1995. "Uncertainty and the transmission of monetary policy in Canada (HERMES-Glendon Lecture) [speech]," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 1995(Summer), pages 41-58.
    6. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
    7. Summers, Lawrence, 1991. "How Should Long-Term Monetary Policy Be Determined? Panel Discussion," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 625-631, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Amir Kia, 2001. "Forward-looking Agents and Macroeconomic Determinants of the Equity Price in a Small Open Economy," Emory Economics 0103, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    2. Pierre L. Siklos, 2003. "Assessing the Impact of Changes in Transparency and Accountability at the Bank of Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(3), pages 279-299, September.
    3. Willem H. Buiter, 1999. "The EMU and the NAMU: What is the Case for North American Monetary Union?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(3), pages 285-305, September.
    4. Carare, Alina & Stone, Mark R., 2006. "Inflation targeting regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1297-1315, July.
    5. C Freedman, 2001. "Inflation Targeting And The Economy: Lessons From Canada'S First Decade," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 2-19, January.
    6. William B.P. Robson, 2009. "To the Next Level: From Gold Standard to Inflation Targets - to Price Stability?," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 285, March.
    7. Aaron Drew, 2002. "Lessons from Inflation Targeting in New Zealand," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.), Inflation Targeting: Desing, Performance, Challenges, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 12, pages 501-538 Central Bank of Chile.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:4:p:415-428. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. Werner Antweiler). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.