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Securing the Peace after a Truce in the War on Inflation

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  • Reinhart, Vincent-R

    (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

Central bankers in the major industrial economies have come close to securing the peace, or in some cases, have secured it in the battle against inflation, hostilities that lasted almost as long as the Cold War. It is important to remember that this battle has been a good fight: both the theory and the empirics reviewed in this paper support the central tenet of central banking that lower inflation supports faster economic growth. However, the observation that low inflation is associated with a macroeconomic benefit does not imply that disinflation should be pursued without limit. A particularly compelling argument in the body of work on the optimal inflation rate is the view that price deflation, or even very low inflation, may pose unacceptable macroeconomic risks given the lower bound of nominal interest rates of zero. Empirical work in this paper suggests that the zero bound is not an artifact of theoreticians but a palpable reality. That said, the perils of the zero bound to nominal interest rates may be seen as less threatening if a central bank is willing to be both aggressive in providing policy accommodation when the economy may be nearing the zero bound and flexible in using the available tools of policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhart, Vincent-R, 2004. "Securing the Peace after a Truce in the War on Inflation," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 22(S1), pages 179-201, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ime:imemes:v:22:y:2004:i:s1:p:179-201
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    File URL: http://www.imes.boj.or.jp/research/papers/english/me22-s1-9.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2003. "How to Fight Deflation in a Liquidity Trap; Committing to Being Irresponsible," IMF Working Papers 03/64, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1661-1707.
    3. Bennett T. McCallum, 2000. "Theoretical analysis regarding a zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 870-935.
    4. Alan J. Auerbach & Maurice Obstfeld, 2005. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 110-137, March.
    5. Marvin Goodfriend, 2000. "Overcoming the zero bound on interest rate policy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 1007-1057.
    6. Clouse James & Henderson Dale & Orphanides Athanasios & Small David H. & Tinsley P.A., 2003. "Monetary Policy When the Nominal Short-Term Interest Rate is Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-65, September.
    7. Fujiki, Hiroshi & Okina, Kunio & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2004. "Comments on "Price Stability and Japanese Monetary Policy."," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 22(3), pages 25-36, October.
    8. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2001. "The Great Recession: Lessons for Macroeconomic Policy from Japan," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 93-186.
    9. Okina, Kunio, 1999. "Monetary Policy under Zero Inflation: A Response to Criticisms and Questions Regarding Monetary Policy," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 17(3), pages 157-182, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bank for International Settlements, 2010. "The international financial crisis and policy challenges in Asia and the Pacific," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 52, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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