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How Inflation Affects Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Investigation

  • Quamrul Ashraf
  • Boris Gershman
  • Peter Howitt

We use an agent-based computational approach to show how inflation can worsen macroeconomic performance by disrupting the mechanism of exchange in a decentralized market economy. We find that, in our model economy, increasing the trend rate of inflation above 3 percent has a substantial deleterious effect, but lowering it below 3 percent has no significant macroeconomic consequences. Our finding remains qualitatively robust to changes in parameter values and to modifications to our model that partly address the Lucas critique. Finally, we contribute a novel explanation for why cross-country regressions may fail to detect a significant negative effect of trend inflation on output even when such an effect exists in reality.

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File URL: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/research/upload/2013-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-10.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2013-10
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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  1. Gomme, Paul, 1993. "Money and growth revisited : Measuring the costs of inflation in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-77, August.
  2. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money in Search Equilibrium, in Competitive Equilibrium, and in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 175-202, 01.
  3. Ascari, Guido, 2003. "Staggered prices and trend inflation: some nuisances," Research Discussion Papers 27/2003, Bank of Finland.
  4. Christophe Deissenberg & Sander Van Der Hoog & Herbert Dawid, 2008. "EURACE: A Massively Parallel Agent-Based Model of the European Economy," Working Papers halshs-00339756, HAL.
  5. Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2008. "Schumpeter Meeting Keynes: A Policy-Friendly Model of Endogenous Growth and Business Cycles," LEM Papers Series 2008/21, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  6. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  7. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2007. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 171-199.
  8. Tack Yun, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Relative Price Distortions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 89-109, March.
  9. Quamrul Ashraf & Boris Gershman & Peter Howitt, 2011. "Banks, Market Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-03, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  10. Guy Debelle & Owen Lamont, 1996. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: Evidence from US Cities," NBER Working Papers 5627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Stockman, Alan C., 1981. "Anticipated inflation and the capital stock in a cash in-advance economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 387-393.
  12. Parsley, David C, 1996. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability in the Short and Long Run: New Evidence from the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 323-41, August.
  13. Joseph H. Haslag, 1997. "Output, growth, welfare, and inflation: a survey," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 11-21.
  14. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  15. Ragan, Christopher, 1998. "On the Believable Benefits of Low Inflation," Working Papers 98-15, Bank of Canada.
  16. Peter Howitt, 2006. "The Microfoundations of the Keynesian Multiplier Process," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 33-44, May.
  17. Bullard, James & Keating, John W., 1995. "The long-run relationship between inflation and output in postwar economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 477-496, December.
  18. Allen Head & Alok Kumar, 2004. "Price Dispersion, Inflation and Welfare," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000241, www.najecon.org.
  19. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
  20. Pierre Fortin, 1996. "The Great Canadian Slump," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 761-87, November.
  21. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
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