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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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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    2. Anderson, Gary S. & Kim, Jinill & Yun, Tack, 2010. "Using a projection method to analyze inflation bias in a micro-founded model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1572-1581, September.
    3. Otmar Issing, 2011. "Lessons for monetary policy: what should the consensus be?," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 81, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    4. Schabert, Andreas, 2015. "Optimal central bank lending," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 485-516.
    5. Fendoğlu, Salih, 2014. "Optimal monetary policy rules, financial amplification, and uncertain business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 271-305.
    6. Ascari, Guido & Florio, Anna & Gobbi, Alessandro, 2017. "Transparency, expectations anchoring and inflation target," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 261-273.
    7. Abo-Zaid, Salem, 2015. "Optimal long-run inflation with occasionally binding financial constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 18-42.
    8. 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.
    9. Niemann, Stefan & Pichler, Paul & Sorger, Gerhard, 2013. "Public debt, discretionary policy, and inflation persistence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1097-1109.
    10. Finocchiaro, Daria & Lombardo, Giovanni & Mendicino, Caterina & Weil, Philippe, 2018. "Optimal inflation with corporate taxation and financial constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 18-31.
    11. repec:ecb:ecbops:2010161 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Carl E. Walsh, 2011. "The Future of Inflation Targeting," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(s1), pages 23-36, September.
    13. Etienne B Yehoue, 2012. "On Price Stability and Welfare," IMF Working Papers 12/189, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Bennett T. McCallum, 2011. "Should central banks raise their inflation targets? Some relevant issues," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 2Q, pages 111-131.
    15. Cacciatore, Matteo & Fiori, Giuseppe & Ghironi, Fabio, 2015. "The domestic and international effects of euro area market reforms," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 555-581.
    16. 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.
    17. Woodford, Michael, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Stabilization Policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 14, pages 723-828 Elsevier.
    18. Rhee, Hyuk Jae & Turdaliev, Nurlan, 2013. "Central bank transparency: Does it matter?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 183-197.
    19. Andrew Binning & Junior Maih, 2017. "Modelling Occasionally Binding Constraints Using Regime-Switching," Working Papers No 9/2017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    20. Jung, Kuk Mo, 2018. "Uncertainty-induced dynamic inefficiency and the optimal inflation rate," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 486-506.
    21. Bindseil, Ulrich & Domnick, Clemens & Zeuner, Jörg, 2015. "Critique of accommodating central bank policies and the 'expropriation of the saver' - A review," Occasional Paper Series 161, European Central Bank.
    22. Ngo, Phuong V., 2014. "Optimal discretionary monetary policy in a micro-founded model with a zero lower bound on nominal interest rate," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 44-65.
    23. Séverine Menguy, 2016. "Optimal Discretionary Monetary Policy in A Potential Zero Lower Bound Framework," International Journal of Economics and Financial Research, Academic Research Publishing Group, vol. 2(6), pages 104-126, 06-2016.
    24. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2016. "Labor market frictions and optimal steady-state inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 67-79.
    25. Tao Peng, 2012. "A Note on the implementation of the Pareto efficient allocation in the Lagos-Wright model," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 27-36.

    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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