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The Optimal Rate of Inflation with Trending Relative Prices

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  • ALEXANDER L. WOLMAN

Abstract

The relative prices of different categories of consumption goods have been trending over time. Assuming they are exogenous with respect to monetary policy, these trends imply that monetary policy cannot stabilize the prices of all consumption categories. If prices are sticky, monetary policy then must trade off relative price distortions within different categories of consumption. Optimally, more weight should be placed on stabilizing goods and services prices that are less flexible. Calibrating a simple sticky price model to U.S. data, we find that slight deflation is optimal, even absent transactions frictions leading to a demand for money. Optimality of deflation derives from the fact that relative prices have been trending up for services, whose nominal prices seem to be less flexible.
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Suggested Citation

  • Alexander L. Wolman, 2011. "The Optimal Rate of Inflation with Trending Relative Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 355-384, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:43:y:2011:i::p:355-384
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S. & Ghironi, Fabio, 2006. "Does it matter (for equilibrium determinacy) what price index the central bank targets?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 214-231, May.
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    5. Toyoichiro Shirota, 2007. "Optimal Trend Inflation and Monetary Policy under Trending Relative Prices," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 07-E-1, Bank of Japan.
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    Cited by:

    1. Choi, Chi-Young & Choi, Horag, 2016. "The role of two frictions in geographic price dispersion: When market friction meets nominal rigidity," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-27.
    2. Bilbiie, Florin O. & Fujiwara, Ippei & Ghironi, Fabio, 2014. "Optimal monetary policy with endogenous entry and product variety," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    3. Robert Amano & Kevin Moran & Stephen Murchison & Andrew Rennison, 2007. "Trend Inflation, Wage and Price Rigidities, and Welfare," Staff Working Papers 07-42, Bank of Canada.
    4. Ikeda, Daisuke, 2015. "Optimal inflation rates with the trending relative price of investment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 20-33.
    5. Gerberding, Christina & Gerke, Rafael & Hammermann, Felix, 2012. "Price-level targeting when there is price-level drift," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 757-768.
    6. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2012. "On quality bias and inflation targets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 393-400.

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