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Shoe-leather costs of inflation and policy credibility

  • Michael R. Pakko

Inflation can cause costly misallocations of resources as consumers seek to protect the purchasing power of their nominal assets. In this article, Michael R. Pakko discusses the nature of these distortions - known as "shoe-leather" costs - in a model where the demand for money is motivated by a "shopping-time" constraint. While the estimates of the shoe-leather costs of long-run inflation (implied by this model) are generally consistent with previous studies, the article goes on to show that the transition between inflation rates can involve dynamics that alter the nature of these welfare effects. Specifically, the benefits of a disinflation policy are mitigated by the gradual adjustment of the economy in response to a lower inflation rate. This transition can be particularly protracted when there is uncertainty about the credibility of the disinflation policy.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (1998)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
Pages: 37-50

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:1998:i:nov:p:37-50:n:6
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "The optimum quantity of money: Theory and evidence," Economics Working Papers 229, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 5469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James Bullard & Steven Russell, 1998. "How costly is sustained low inflation for the U.S. economy?," Working Papers 1997-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  6. David Andolfatto & Paul Gomme, 1997. "Monetary Policy Regimes and Beliefs," Working Papers 97002, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 1997.
  7. Karni, Edi, 1974. "The Value of Time and the Demand for Money," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 6(1), pages 45-64, February.
  8. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1996. "Inflation and growth: in search of a stable relationship," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 139-146.
  9. 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).
  10. Robert J. Shiller, 1996. "Why Do People Dislike Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 5539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  12. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  13. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1996. "Inflation and growth: in search of a stable relationship," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 139-146.
  14. 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.
  15. Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The welfare cost of inflation under imperfect insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 79-91, January.
  16. CHARLES T. Carlstrom & WILLIAM T. Gavin, 1993. "Zero Inflation: Transition Costs And Shoe Leather Benefits," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(1), pages 9-17, 01.
  17. Christopher J. Neely & Christopher J. Waller, 1997. "A Benefit-Cost Analysis Of Disinflation," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(1), pages 50-64, 01.
  18. Michael R. Pakko, 1998. "Dynamic shoe-leather costs in a shopping-time model of money," Working Papers 1998-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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