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A political economy perspective on persistent inequality, inflation, and redistribution

  • Lahiri, Radhika
  • Ratnasiri, Shyama

In this paper we examine the dynamics of the link between inequality and inflation from a political economy perspective. We consider a simple dynamic general equilibrium model in which agents vote over the desired inflation rate in each period, and inequality is persistent. Inflation in our model is a mechanism of redistribution, and we find that the link between inequality and inflation within any period or over time depends on institutional and preference related parameters. Furthermore, we find that differences in the initial distributions of wealth can yield a diverse set of patterns for the evolution of the inflation and inequality link. Relative to existing literature, our model leads to more precise predictions about the inflation-inequality correlation. To that end, results in the extant empirical literature on the inflation and inequality link need to be interpreted with caution.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 1199-1210

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:27:y:2010:i:5:p:1199-1210
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  1. Albanesi, Stefania, 2007. "Inflation and inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1088-1114, May.
  2. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-476 Elsevier.
  3. Huffman, Gregory W., 1996. "Endogenous tax determination and the distribution of wealth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 207-242, December.
  4. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman & Mark A. Wynne, 2000. "Inequality, inflation, and central bank independence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 271-287, February.
  5. Cukierman, A. & Miller, G.P. & Neyapti, B., 2000. "Central Bank Rerform, Liberalization and Inflation in Transition Economies - an International Perspective," Papers 2000-19, Tel Aviv.
  6. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Helle Bunzel & Joseph Haslag, 2005. "The non-monotonic relationship between seigniorage and inequality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 500-519, May.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Yunyong Thaicharoen, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  9. Gregory W. Huffman, 1997. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Central Bank Independence and Inflation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 943-58, November.
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