IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Inflation and welfare: a search approach

  • Ben Craig
  • Guillaume Rocheteau

This paper extends recent findings in the search-theoretic literature on monetary exchange regarding the welfare costs of inflation. We present first estimates of the welfare cost of inflation using the "welfare triangle" methodology of Bailey (1958) and Lucas (2000). We then derive a money demand function from the search-theoretic model of Lagos and Wright (2005) and we estimate it from U.S. data over the period 1900-2000. We show that the welfare cost of inflation predicted by the model accords with the welfare-triangle measure when pricing mechanisms are such that buyers appropriate the social marginal benefit of their real balances. For other mechanisms, welfare triangles underestimate the true welfare cost of inflation because of a rent-sharing externality. We also point out other inefficiencies associated with noncompetitive pricing, which matter for estimating the cost of inflation. We then illustrate how endogenous participation decisions can mitigate or exacerbate the cost of inflation, and we provide calibrated examples in which a deviation from the Friedman rule is optimal. Finally, we discuss distributional effects of inflation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its journal Policy Discussion Papers.

Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): Jan ()

in new window

Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpd:y:2006:i:jan:n:12
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1455 East 6th St., Cleveland OH 44114

Phone: 216.579.2000
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. S. Boragan Aruoba & Randall Wright, 2002. "Search, money and capital: a neoclassical dichotomy," Working Paper 0208, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Shouyong Shi, 1997. "A Divisible Search Model of Fiat Money," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 75-102, January.
  3. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1988. "The Inflation Tax In A Real Business Cycle Model," RCER Working Papers 155, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Miquel Faig, 2004. "Divisible Money in an Economy with Villages," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 248, Econometric Society.
  5. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
  6. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Welfare Costs of Moderate Inflations," RCER Working Papers 266, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  8. Boragan Aruoba, S. & Rocheteau, Guillaume & Waller, Christopher, 2007. "Bargaining and the value of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2636-2655, November.
  9. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  10. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
  11. S. Rao Aiyagari & R. Anton Braun & Zvi Eckstein, 1995. "Transaction services, inflation, and welfare," Working Papers 551, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Huberto M. Ennis, 2005. "Search, Money, and Inflation under Private Information," 2005 Meeting Papers 135, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
  14. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau & Shouyong Shi, 2002. "Friedman Meets Hosios: Efficiency in Search Models of Money," Working Papers shouyong-02-04, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  15. Lucas, Robert E., 1981. "Discussion of : Stanley Fischer, "towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II"," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 43-52, January.
  16. Miguel Molico, 2006. "The Distribution Of Money And Prices In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 701-722, 08.
  17. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money in Search Equilibrium, in Competitive Equilibrium, and in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 175-202, 01.
  18. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2005. "Optimal monetary policy: what we know and what we don’t know," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Oct, pages 10-19.
  19. Michael Dotsey & Peter N. Ireland, 1994. "The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium," Working Paper 94-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  20. Deviatov Alexei & Wallace Neil, 2001. "Another Example in which Lump-sum Money Creation is Beneficial," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, February.
  21. Reed, Robert R. & Waller, Christopher J., 2006. "Money and Risk Sharing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(6), pages 1599-1618, September.
  22. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2004. "A unified framework for monetary theory and policy analysis," Staff Report 346, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. S. Boragan Aruoba & Christopher J. Waller & Randall Wright, 2007. "Money and capital," Working Paper 0714, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  24. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright, 2003. "Inflation and Welfare in Models with Trading Frictions," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-032, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  25. Craig, Ben & Waller, C.J.Christopher J., 2004. "Dollarization and currency exchange," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 671-689, May.
  26. Craig, Ben & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2008. "State-dependent pricing, inflation, and welfare in search economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 441-468, April.
  27. Li, Victor E, 1995. "The Optimal Taxation of Fiat Money in Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(4), pages 927-42, November.
  28. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  29. Li, Victor E, 1997. "The Efficiency of Monetary Exchange in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 61-72, February.
  30. Fischer, Stanley, 1981. "Towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 5-41, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpd:y:2006:i:jan:n:12. 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: (4D Library)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.