IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Burden Of Unanticipated Inflation: Analysis Of An Overlapping-Generations Model With Progressive Income Taxation And Staggered Prices


  • Heer, Burkhard
  • Maußner, Alfred


Inflation is often associated with a loss for the poor in the medium and long term. We study the short-run redistributive effects of unanticipated inflation in a dynamic optimizing sticky price model of the business cycle. Agents are heterogeneous with regard to their age and their productivity. We emphasize three channels of the effect of inflation on income distribution: (1) factor prices, (2) “bracket creep,” and (3) sticky pensions. Unanticipated inflation that is caused by monetary expansion is found to reduce income inequality. In particular, an increase of the money growth rate by one standard deviation results in a 1% drop of the Gini coefficient of disposable income if extra tax revenues are transferred lump-sum to the households.

Suggested Citation

  • Heer, Burkhard & Maußner, Alfred, 2012. "The Burden Of Unanticipated Inflation: Analysis Of An Overlapping-Generations Model With Progressive Income Taxation And Staggered Prices," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 278-308, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:16:y:2012:i:02:p:278-308_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
    2. Heer, Burkhard & Sussmuth, Bernd, 2007. "Effects of inflation on wealth distribution: Do stock market participation fees and capital income taxation matter?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 277-303, January.
    3. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
    4. Gillman, Max, 1993. "The welfare cost of inflation in a cash-in-advance economy with costly credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 97-115, February.
    5. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
    6. Orazio P. Attanasio & Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2002. "The Demand for Money, Financial Innovation, and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: An Analysis with Household Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 317-351, April.
    7. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo, 2000. "Understanding why high income households save more than low income households," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 361-397, April.
    8. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    9. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(2), pages 283-296, April.
    10. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
    11. Freeman, Scott, 1987. "Reserve requirements and optimal seigniorage," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 307-314, March.
    12. Dotsey, Michael & Ireland, Peter, 1996. "The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-47, February.
    13. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
    14. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
    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. Yann Algan & Olivier Allais & Edouard Challe & Xavier Ragot, 2012. "Monetary Shocks Under Incomplete Markets," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1j0a1p4ifa9, Sciences Po.
    2. Burkhard Heer, 2013. "A note on the cyclical behaviour of the income distribution," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2013(1), pages 1-7.
    3. Olivier Allais & Yann Algan & Edouard Challe & Xavier Ragot, 2015. "The Welfare Cost Of Inflation Risk Under Imperfect Insurance," PSE Working Papers hal-01157168, HAL.
    4. Carlo A. Favero & Arie E. Gozluklu & Haoxi Yang, 2016. "Demographics and the Behavior of Interest Rates," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 64(4), pages 732-776, November.
    5. Yann Algan & Xavier Ragot, 2010. "Monetary policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Borrowing Constraints," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 295-316, April.
    6. Heer, Burkhard & Süssmuth, Bernd, 2013. "Tax bracket creep and its effects on income distribution," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 393-408.
    7. Ragot, Xavier, 2014. "The case for a financial approach to money demand," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 94-107.
    8. Yaz Terajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Césaire Meh & Shutao Cao, 2013. "Demand for Liquidity and Welfare Cost of Inflation by Cohort and Age of Households," 2013 Meeting Papers 569, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Hideki Konishi & Kozo Ueda, 2013. "Aging and Deflation from a Fiscal Perspective," IMES Discussion Paper Series 13-E-13, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    10. Larin, Benjamin, 2016. "Bubble-driven business cycles," Working Papers 143, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    11. N'Yilimon Nantob, 2015. "Income Inequality and Inflation in Developing Countries: An Empirical Investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2888-2902.
    12. repec:prg:jnlpep:v:2017:y:2017:i:6:id:630:p:633-645 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Chang, Wen-ya & Chen, Ying-an & Chang, Juin-jen, 2013. "Growth and welfare effects of monetary policy with endogenous fertility," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 117-130.
    14. repec:prg:jnlpep:v:preprint:id:630:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Yasuoka, Masaya, 2016. "Money and Pay-As-you-Go Pension," MPRA Paper 75578, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Pierre Monnin, 2014. "Inflation and Income Inequality in Developed Economies," Working Papers 1401, Council on Economic Policies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General


    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:cup:macdyn:v:16:y:2012:i:02:p:278-308_00. 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: (Keith Waters). 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.