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Deflating the case for zero inflation

  • S. Rao Aiyagari

This paper analyzes the U.S. congressional proposal to instruct the Federal Reserve to, in the next five years, lower inflation to zero from its current rate of around 5 percent. The paper concludes that, when other policy options are considered, the zero inflation policy is not advisable. Its benefits would be very small--possibly negative--while its costs would probably be significant. Other, more direct policy options could produce most of the same benefits with fewer costs. Among these alternative policies are deregulating interest rates on demand deposits, paying interest on financial institution reserves, lowering the federal tax rate on capital income, and indexing the federal tax code to inflation. ; Reprinted in Quarterly Review, v. 21, no. 3, Summer 1997.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (1990)
Issue (Month): Sum ()
Pages: 2-11

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1990:i:sum:p:2-11:n:v.14no.3
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  1. 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).
  2. Taylor, John B, 1983. "Union Wage Settlements during a Disinflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 981-93, December.
  3. John F. Boschen & Herschel I. Grossman, 1981. "Tests of Equilibrium Macroeconomics Using Contemporaneous Monetary Data," NBER Working Papers 0558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert J. Barro & Zvi Hercowitz, 1979. "Money Stock Revisions and Unanticipated Money Growth," NBER Working Papers 0329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Finn Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1980. "A Competitive Theory of Fluctuations and the Feasibility and Desirability of Stabilization Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Rational Expectations and Economic Policy, pages 169-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Charles I. Plosser, 1989. "Money and business cycles: a real business cycle interpretation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. Fair, Ray C, 1979. "An Analysis of the Accuracy of Four Macroeconometric Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 701-18, August.
  8. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1983. "Inflation and the Taxation of Capital Income in the Corporate Sector," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 116-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zvi Hercowitz, 1980. "Money and Price Dispersion in the United States," NBER Working Papers 0433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
  11. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  12. Robert J. Barro, 1976. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," Working Papers 234, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  13. Vining, Daniel R, Jr & Elwertowski, Thomas C, 1976. "The Relationship between Relative Prices and the General Price Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 699-708, September.
  14. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  15. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  16. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  17. Okun, Arthur M, 1978. "Efficient Disinflationary Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 348-52, May.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  19. 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.
  20. Sargent, Thomas J, 1976. "A Classical Macroeconometric Model for the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 207-37, April.
  21. Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-68, June.
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