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Should central banks raise their inflation targets? Some relevant issues

  • Bennett T. McCallum

Several arguments are relevant. (1) In the absence of the zero lower bound (ZLB), the optimal steady-state inflation rate, according to standard reasoning, lies between deflation at the steady-state real interest rate and the Calvo-model value of zero, with calibration indicating a larger weight on the latter. (2) An attractive modification of the Calvo equation would imply that the weight on the second of these should be zero. (3) There may be some scope for monetary policy to be effective even at the ZLB. (4) Elimination of currency is feasible and would remove the ZLB constraint. (5) Increasing target inflation would undermine the rationale for central bank independence and constitute an additional movement away from intertemporal discipline.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its journal Economic Quarterly.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): 2Q ()
Pages: 111-131

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:2q:p:111-131:n:v.97no.2
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  1. Goodfriend, Marvin & McCallum, Bennett T., 2007. "Banking and interest rates in monetary policy analysis: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1480-1507, July.
  2. Greenfield, Robert L & Yeager, Leland B, 1983. "A Laissez-Faire Approach to Monetary Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 15(3), pages 302-15, August.
  3. Willem Buiter, 2009. "Negative Nominal Interest Rates: Three ways to overcome the zero lower bound," FMG Discussion Papers dp636, Financial Markets Group.
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  5. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
  6. Bennett T. McCallum, 2000. "Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 7677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Javier Andres & J. David López-Salido & Edward Nelson, 2005. "Sticky-price models and the natural rate hypothesis," Working Papers 2005-018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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  9. Douglas Laxton & Dirk Muir & Michael Kumhof & Susanna Mursula & Charles Freedman, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus to the Rescue? Short-Run Benefits and Potential Long-Run Costs of Fiscal Deficits," IMF Working Papers 09/255, International Monetary Fund.
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  13. Marvin Goodfriend, 2007. "How the World Achieved Consensus on Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 47-68, Fall.
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  17. Peter J. Wallison, 2010. "Government Housing Policy and the Financial Crisis," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 30(2), pages 397-406, Spring.
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  22. Woodford, Michael, 2005. "Comment on: "Using a long-term interest rate as the monetary policy instrument"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 881-887, July.
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  24. Leland B. Yeager, 1983. "Stable Money and Free-Market Currencies," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 3(1), pages 305-333, Spring.
  25. Alan S. Blinder, 2010. "How Central Should the Central Bank Be?," Working Papers 1202, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  26. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2010. "The Optimal Rate of Inflation," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 13, pages 653-722 Elsevier.
  27. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1980. "Exchange Rate Economics: Where Do We Stand?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 11(1, Tenth ), pages 143-206.
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