Sacrifice ratio dispersion within the Euro Zone: what can be learned about implementing a single monetary policy?
This article focuses on the comparison of sacrifice ratios as an indicator for structural dispersion within the euro area over the period 1972-2003. Estimates of the sacrifice ratio, defined as the cumulative output cost arising from permanent inflation reduction, are obtained using structural VAR models. Results from sub-period analysis as well as 10-year-period rolling estimates lead to two main conclusions. First, empirical evidence displays a recent increase in the average sacrifice ratio, which can be linked to the simultaneous decrease in the average inflation rate: this negative relationship between the initial level of inflation and the cost of disinflation can be seen as a justification for the choice of an inflation objective close to 2% for the European Central Bank (ECB) rather than a target of perfect price stability, potentially very damaging. Second, we cannot provide evidence of any reduction in European sacrifice ratio dispersion, which would suggest that the nominal convergence triggered by the Maastricht Treaty did not involve a true reduction of structural differences. It is likely to be a problem in the stance of a single monetary policy, because structural differences imply asymmetric responses of real national economies to the same monetary impulse.
Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
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