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The credibility of the monetary policy "free lunch"

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  • Yetman, James

Abstract

Price level targeting has been proposed as an alternative to inflation targeting that may confer benefits if a central bank sets policy under discretion, even if society's loss function is specified in terms of inflation (instead of price level) volatility. This paper demonstrates the sensitivity of this argument. If even a small portion of agents use a rule-of-thumb to form inflation expectations, or does not fully understand the nature of the target, price level targeting may in fact impose costs on society rather than benefits. While rational expectations and perfect credibility are generally beneficial with either a price level or an inflation target, an inflation target is more robust to alternative assumptions. These results suggest that caution should be exercised in considering a price level target as the basis for monetary policy, unless society has preferences specified in terms of price level, rather than inflation, volatility. JEL Classification: E52
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Suggested Citation

  • Yetman, James, 2005. "The credibility of the monetary policy "free lunch"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 434-451, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:27:y:2005:i:3:p:434-451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
    2. Currie,David & Levine,Paul, 2009. "Rules, Reputation and Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521104609, April.
    3. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
    4. Vestin, David, 2000. "Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting in a Forward-looking Model," Working Paper Series 106, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    5. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    6. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-984, November.
    7. Robert Dittmar & William T. Gavin, 2000. "What do New-Keynesian Phillips Curves imply for price-level targeting?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 21-30.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:5:y:2004:i:17:p:1-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility: An Update," Staff Working Papers 08-37, Bank of Canada.
    3. Masson, Paul R. & Shukayev, Malik D., 2011. "Are bygones not bygones? Modeling price-level targeting with an escape clause and lessons from the gold standard," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 162-175, June.
    4. James Yetman, 2004. "Speed Limit Policies and Interest Rate Smoothing," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(17), pages 1-6.
    5. James Yetman, 2005. "Discretionary Policy, Potential Output Uncertainty, and Optimal Learning," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2005/07, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    6. Ferro, Gustavo, 2007. "Metas de inflación ¿qué hay de nuevo bajo el sol?
      [Inflation Targeting. What's new under the sun?]
      ," MPRA Paper 15069, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Mar 2008.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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