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The Optimal Rate of Inflation

In: Handbook of Monetary Economics

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  • Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie
  • Uribe, Martín

Abstract

Observed inflation targets around the industrial world are concentrated at two percent per year. This chapter investigates the extent to which the observed magnitudes of inflation targets are consistent with the optimal rate of inflation predicted by leading theories of monetary non-neutrality. We find that consistently those theories imply that the optimal rate of inflation ranges from minus the real rate of interest to numbers insignificantly above zero. Furthermore, we argue that the zero bound on nominal interest rates does not represent an impediment for setting inflation targets near or below zero. Finally, we find that central banks should adjust their inflation targets upward by the size of the quality bias in measured inflation only if hedonic prices are more sticky than nonquality-adjusted prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2010. "The Optimal Rate of Inflation," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 13, pages 653-722, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:monchp:3-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2005. "Inflation Stabilization And Welfare: The Case Of A Distorted Steady State," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1185-1236, December.
    2. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2008. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does it Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 863-904.
    3. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2006. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1877-1905, October.
    4. Lawrence H. Summers, "undated". "Panel discussion: price stability ; How should long-term monetary policy be determined?," Proceedings y:1991:p:625-631, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Stephanie Schmitt-Groh√ & Mart√Çn Uribe, 2012. "Foreign Demand for Domestic Currency and the Optimal Rate of Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(6), pages 1207-1224, September.
    6. Correia, Isabel & Teles, Pedro, 1996. "Is the Friedman rule optimal when money is an intermediate good?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 223-244, October.
    7. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John Williams & Noah M. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy Under Uncertainty in Micro-Founded Macroeconometric Models," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 229-312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2012. "On quality bias and inflation targets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 393-400.
    9. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "Tax evasion and the optimal inflation tax," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 215-232, February.
    10. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
    11. David L. Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 1999. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low inflation era," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1999.
    12. Tack Yun, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Relative Price Distortions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 89-109, March.
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    16. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Downward Nominal Rigidities; Foreign Demand for Money; Friedman Rule; Quality Bias; Ramsey Policy; Sticky-Prices; Zero Bound;

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General

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