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Why Is Canada's Price Level So Predictable?

Author

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  • ONDRA KAMENIK
  • HEESUN KIEM
  • VLADIMIR KLYUEV
  • DOUGLAS LAXTON

Abstract

One of the pioneers of inflation targeting (IT), the Bank of Canada is now considering a possibility of switching to price-level-path targeting (PLPT), where past deviations of inflation from the target would have to be offset in the future, bringing the price level back to a predetermined path. This paper draws attention to the fact that the price level in Canada has strayed little from the path implied by the two percent inflation target since its introduction in December 1994, and has tended to revert to that path after temporary deviations. Econometric analysis using Bayesian estimation suggests that a low probability can be assigned to explaining this behavior by sheer luck manifesting itself in mutually offsetting shocks. Much more plausible is the assumption that inflation expectations and interest rates are determined in a way that is consistent with an element of PLPT. This suggests that the difference between IT as it is actually practiced (or perceived) and PLPT may be less stark than what pure theoretical constructs posit, and that the transition to a fullfledged PLPT regime will likely be considerably easier than what was previously thought. The paper also shows that inflation expectations are a major driver of actual inflation in Canada, which makes it easier to keep inflation close to the target without large output costs.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ondra Kamenik & Heesun Kiem & Vladimir Klyuev & Douglas Laxton, 2013. "Why Is Canada's Price Level So Predictable?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(1), pages 71-85, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:45:y:2013:i:1:p:71-85
    DOI: j.1538-4616.2012.00562.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicoletta Batini & Douglas Laxton, 2007. "Under What Conditions Can Inflation Targeting Be Adopted? The Experience of Emerging Markets," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 12, pages 467-506 Central Bank of Chile.
    2. Benjamin Hunt & Douglas Laxton, 2004. "The Zero Interest Rate Floor (ZIF) and its Implications for Monetary Policy in Japan," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 187(1), pages 76-92, January.
    3. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Kim, 2004. "Inflation Targeting, Price-Path Targeting, and Output Variability," NBER Chapters,in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 173-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Longworth, 2002. "Inflation and the Macroeconomy: Changes from the 1980s to the 1990s," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2002(Spring), pages 3-18.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eurilton Araújo & Débora Gouveia, 2013. "Calvo-type rules and the forward-looking behavior of inflation targeting central banks," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2042-2051.
    2. William B.P. Robson, 2009. "To the Next Level: From Gold Standard to Inflation Targets - to Price Stability?," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 285, March.
    3. Francisco Ruge-Murcia, 2014. "Do Inflation-Targeting Central Banks Implicitly Target the Price Level?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(2), pages 301-326, June.
    4. Kevin Clinton & Charles Freedman & Michel Juillard & Ondrej Kamenik & Douglas Laxton & Hou Wang, 2015. "Inflation-Forecast Targeting; Applying the Principle of Transparency," IMF Working Papers 15/132, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Clinton, Kevin & Garcia-Saltos, Roberto & Johnson, Marianne & Kamenik, Ondrej & Laxton, Douglas, 2010. "International deflation risks under alternative macroeconomic policies," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 140-177, June.
    6. Angelo Melino, 2011. "Moving Monetary Policy Forward: Why Small Steps - and a Lower Inflation Target - Make Sense for the Bank of Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 319, January.
    7. Michael Parkin, 2009. "What is the Ideal Monetary Policy Regime? Improving the Bank of Canada's Inflation-targeting Program," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 279, January.
    8. Charles R. Bean & Matthias Paustian & Adrian Penalver & Tim Taylor, 2010. "Monetary policy after the fall," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 267-328.
    9. A. R. Pagan & Douglas Laxton & Luis Catão, 2008. "Monetary Transmission in an Emerging Targeter; The Case of Brazil," IMF Working Papers 08/191, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Wolfgang Pollan, 2013. "US Inflation and Crude Oil Prices. An International Perspective," WIFO Working Papers 451, WIFO.
    11. Athanassios Petralias & Pródromos Prodromídis, 2015. "Price discovery under crisis: uncovering the determinant factors of prices using efficient Bayesian model selection methods," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 859-879, November.
    12. Maurice Obstfeld & Kevin Clinton & Ondra Kamenik & Douglas Laxton & Yulia Ustyugova & Hou Wang, 2016. "How to Improve Inflation Targeting in Canada," IMF Working Papers 16/192, International Monetary Fund.

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