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An optimal inflation target for New Zealand: lessons from the literature

Author

Listed:
  • Anne-Marie Brook
  • Özer Karagedikli
  • Dean Scrimgeour

    (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

Abstract

In this article we summarise the recent economic literature on the relationship between inflation and growth, to assess what inflation target might be most consistent with the fastest pace of sustainable economic growth. One conclusion is that the relationship between inflation and growth seems to be different at different rates of inflation. At very low rates of inflation, including the 0 - 3 per cent range, the growth rate seems to be independent of the inflation rate. But at higher rates of inflation, there is evidence that inflation does significant damage to growth. There is some theoretical literature which cautions central banks against deflation, and therefore against including zero in an inflation target range. As yet there is little data available with which to test this presumption. Based on the theoretical arguments, we conclude that the risks of New Zealand being caught in a deflationary trap are low. Overall, we conclude that average rates of inflation in New Zealand have been within the `optimal inflation range' suggested by the literature. Interested readers may wish to consult a longer and more comprehensive version of this paper, contained in the Bank's publication on PTA related issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne-Marie Brook & Özer Karagedikli & Dean Scrimgeour, 2002. "An optimal inflation target for New Zealand: lessons from the literature," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 65, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbbul:september2002:1
    as

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    File URL: http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/ReserveBank/Files/Publications/Bulletins/2002/2002sep65-3BrookKaragedikliScrimgeour.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Panel discussion: price stability ; How should long-term monetary policy be determined?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 625-631.
    4. Coenen Günter & Orphanides Athanasios & Wieland Volker, 2004. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, pages 1-25.
    5. Burdekin, Richard C.K. & Denzau, Arthur T. & Keil, Manfred W. & Sitthiyot, Thitithep & Willett, Thomas D., 2004. "When does inflation hurt economic growth? Different nonlinearities for different economies," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 519-532, September.
    6. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara J, 1993. "What We Have Learned about Policy and Growth from Cross-Country Regressions?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 426-430, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. By Mohsin S. Khan & Abdelhak S. Senhadji, 2001. "Threshold Effects in the Relationship Between Inflation and Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 1-1.
    10. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
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    13. Jacqueline Dwyer, 2003. "Nominal Wage Rigidity in Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 6(1), pages 5-24, March.
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    16. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
    17. Samantha Johnson, 1993. "The costs of inflation revisited," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 56, March.
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    Cited by:

    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. Christie Smith, 2004. "The long-run effects of monetary policy on output growth," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 67, September.
    3. Réka Juhász, 2008. "The optimal rate of inflation and the inflation target: international experience and the Hungarian perspective," MNB Bulletin (discontinued), Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 3(2), pages 30-37, September.

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