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The long-run costs of moderate inflation

Author

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  • Gregory D. Hess
  • Charles S. Morris

Abstract

Long-run price stability is generally considered to be a primary goal of monetary policymakers in many countries. One reason policymakers care about inflation is that it can harm economic performance. Numerous studies of the impact of inflation on economic performance have focused on whether increases in inflation reduce economic growth in the long run These studies have found that prolonged high inflation does in fact reduce economic growth, but they were not able to detect a significant long-run relationship between real growth and low or moderate inflation. Because anti-inflationary policies typically have short-run costs, such as higher unemployment and slower economic growth, the results from these studies may lead people to ask whether such policies are appropriate when inflation is low or moderate.> Hess and Morris contend that anti-inflationary policies may be appropriate, even if low to moderate long-run inflation does not reduce long-run growth, if inflation harms the economy in other ways. Three potentially harmful consequences of inflation are considered: (1) inflation uncertainty, (2) real growth variability, and (3) relative price volatility. These consequences are costly because they reduce economic efficiency and therefore the level of economic output and consumer welfare.> The authors discuss the costs of inflation uncertainty, real growth variability, and relative price volatility, and examine their empirical relationship with inflation. They show that inflation uncertainty, real growth variability, and relative price volatility all tend to rise as long-run inflation rises from low to moderate levels. As a result, they conclude that policymakers may find it justifiable to pursue anti-inflationary policies even when inflation is low.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory D. Hess & Charles S. Morris, 1996. "The long-run costs of moderate inflation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue qii, pages 71-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1996:i:qii:p:71-88:n:v.81no.2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:spr:qualqt:v:52:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s11135-017-0676-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Muhammad Khan, 2013. "Inflation and Sectoral Output Growth Variability in Bulgaria," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 55(4), pages 687-704, December.
    3. Gennady Bilych, 2013. "What Is There in Common between Arab Revolutions and the Coase Theorem?," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 3(1), pages 126-152, June.
    4. Tsyplakov, Alexander, 2010. "The links between inflation and inflation uncertainty at the longer horizon," MPRA Paper 26908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Davis, George & Kanago, Bryce, 1998. "High and Uncertain Inflation: Results from a New Data Set," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 218-230, May.
    6. Davis, George K & Kanago, Bryce E, 2000. "The Level and Uncertainty of Inflation: Results from OECD Forecasts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 58-72, January.
    7. WenShwo Fang & Stephen Miller & Chih-Chuan Yeh, 2010. "Does a threshold inflation rate exist? Quantile inferences for inflation and its variability," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 619-641, December.
    8. Brian O'Reilly, 1998. "The Benefits of Low Inflation: Taking Shock "A nickel ain't worth a dime any more" [Yogi Berra]," Technical Reports 83, Bank of Canada.
    9. Frederic S Mishkin, 1997. "Strategies for Controlling Inflation," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Philip Lowe (ed.), Monetary Policy and Inflation Targeting, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    10. Carlos Humberto Cardona & Adriana Pontón & Eduardo Sarmiento, 1998. "Evidencia sobre las Desinflaciones: Experiencia Internacional," Borradores de Economia 102, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    11. Ghrissi Mhamdi, 2013. "Stability Of Money Demand Function In Tunisia," Post-Print halshs-01138431, HAL.
    12. Adam S. Posen & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue aug, pages 9-110.
    13. Mehmet Balcilar & Shinhye Chang & Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller, 2018. "The relationship between the inflation rate and inequality across U.S. states: a semiparametric approach," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 52(5), pages 2413-2425, September.
    14. Inoue, Tetsuya, 1998. "Impact of Information Technology and Implications for Monetary Policy," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 16(2), pages 29-60, December.
    15. Tsyplakov Alexander, 2010. "The links between inflation and inflation uncertainty at the longer horizon," EERC Working Paper Series 10/09e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

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    Keywords

    Prices; Inflation (Finance);

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