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Trend Inflation, Wage and Price Rigidities, and Welfare

  • Robert Amano
  • Kevin Moran
  • Stephen Murchison
  • Andrew Rennison

This paper studies the steady-state costs of inflation in a general-equilibrium model with real per capita output growth and staggered nominal price and wage contracts. Our analysis shows that trend inflation has important effects on the economy when combined with nominal contracts and real output growth. Steady-state output and welfare losses are quantitatively important even for low values of trend inflation. Further, we show that nominal wage contracting is quantitatively more important than nominal price contracting in generating these losses. This important result does not arise from price dispersion per se but from an effect of nominal output growth on the optimal markup of monopolistically competitive labour suppliers. We also demonstrate that accounting for productivity growth is important for calculating the welfare costs of inflation. Indeed, the presence of two percent productivity growth increases the welfare costs of inflation in our benchmark specification by a factor of four relative to the nogrowth case.

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File URL: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/wp07-42.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 07-42.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:07-42
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  1. Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1996. "Inflation Targeting in a St. Louis Model of the 21st Century," NBER Working Papers 5507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ascari, Guido, 2003. "Staggered prices and trend inflation: some nuisances," Research Discussion Papers 27/2003, Bank of Finland.
  3. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy," Working Paper 00-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  6. Susanto Basu, 1995. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," NBER Working Papers 5336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ascari, Guido, 1998. "Superneutrality Of Money In Staggered Wage-Setting Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 383-400, September.
  8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  9. Alexander L. Wolman, 2011. "The Optimal Rate of Inflation with Trending Relative Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 355-384, 03.
  10. Graham, Liam & Snower, Dennis J., 2004. "The real effects of money growth in dynamic general equilibrium," Working Paper Series 0412, European Central Bank.
  11. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. repec:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:3:p:383-400 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Taylor, John B., 1999. "Staggered price and wage setting in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1009-1050 Elsevier.
  15. Alexander L. Wolman, 2001. "A primer on optimal monetary policy with staggered price-setting," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 27-52.
  16. Huang, Kevin X. D. & Liu, Zheng, 2002. "Staggered price-setting, staggered wage-setting, and business cycle persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 405-433, March.
  17. Andreas Hornstein & Alexander L. Wolman, 2005. "Trend inflation, firm-specific capital, and sticky prices," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 57-83.
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