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Reconsidering the Relationship between Inflation and Relative Price Variability

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  • CHI-YOUNG CHOI

Abstract

It has long been popularly believed that the relationship between inflation and relative price variability (RPV) is positive and stable. Using disaggregated CPI data for the United States and Japan, however, this study finds that the relationship is neither linear nor stable over time. The overall relationship is approximately U-shaped around a nonzero threshold inflation rate. RPV therefore changes not with the inflation rate "per se", but with the deviation of inflation from the threshold inflation rate. More importantly, the relationship is by no means stable over time but instead varies significantly in a way that coincides with regime changes of inflation or monetary policy. The relationship was positive during the period of high inflation of the 1970s and the early 1980s, as has been documented by a number of previous studies, whereas it takes a U-shape profile during the Great Moderation. The results are robust to the use of core inflation, which excludes the traditionally volatile prices of food and energy. This paper then presents a modified version of the Calvo-type sticky price model to describe the observed empirical regularities. Simulation experiments show that the modified Calvo model fits the data well, and that the underlying relationship hinges upon the degree of price rigidity, which is systematically related to inflation regime. For countries and periods with low inflation rates, the relationship takes a U-shape as price adjustment is more sticky. In a high-inflation environment, when price setting becomes more flexible, the U-shaped profile vanishes. Copyright (c) 2010 The Ohio State University.

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  • Chi-Young Choi, 2010. "Reconsidering the Relationship between Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(5), pages 769-798, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:42:y:2010:i:5:p:769-798
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    1. Mohammad Ali Kafaie & Amir Mohammad Moshref, 2013. "Inflation and Relative Price Dispersion: Evidence for Iran," Iranian Economic Review, Economics faculty of Tehran university, vol. 18(1), pages 93-104, winter.
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    4. Kota Watanabe & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2017. "Price Rigidity at Near-Zero Inflation Rates: Evidence from Japan," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 076, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    5. Choi, Chi-Young & Kim, Young Se, 2010. "Is there any asymmetry in the effect of inflation on relative price variability?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 233-236, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Tierney, Heather L.R., 2011. "Real-time data revisions and the PCE measure of inflation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 1763-1773, July.
    8. Mª Ángeles Caraballo & Tilemahos Efthimiadis, 2012. "Divergent Optimal Inflation Rates In Euro Area Countries Or "Does One Size Fit All?"," EcoMod2012 3923, EcoMod.
    9. Muhammad Akmal, 2012. "The Relationship between Inflation and Relative Price Variability in Pakistan," Working Papers id:4734, eSocialSciences.
    10. Saghir Pervaiz Ghauri & Rizwan Raheem Ahmed & Jolita Vveinhardt & Dalia Streimikiene, 2017. "Estimation of Relationship between Inflation and Relative Price Variability: Granger Causality and ARDL Modelling Approach," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 19(44), pages 249-249, February.
    11. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession of 2007 to 2009," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 7, pages 125-173.
    12. Hegwood, Natalie D. & Nath, Hiranya K., 2013. "Structural breaks and relative price convergence among US cities," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 150-160.
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    14. Muhammad Akmal, 2012. "The Relationship between Inflation and Relative Price Variability in Pakistan," SBP Working Paper Series 44, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department.
    15. Kota Watanabe & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2017. "Why Has Japan Failed to Escape from Deflation?," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 078, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    16. repec:rej:journl:v:19:y:2016:i:61:p:193-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ma Caraballo & Tilemahos Efthimiadis, 2012. "Is 2 % the optimal inflation rate for the Euro Area?," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 235-243, September.
    18. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2015. "Explaining inflation in the period of quantitative easing in Japan: Relative-price changes, aggregate demand, and monetary policy," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 72-85.
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    24. Sascha S. Becker, 2011. "What Drives the Relationship Between Inflation and Price Dispersion? Market Power vs. Price Rigidity," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-019, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
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