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Aggregate and Welfare Effects of Redistribution of Wealth Under Inflation and Price-Level Targeting


  • Césaire A. Meh
  • José-Victor Rios-Rull
  • Yaz Terajima


Since the work of Doepke and Schneider (2006a) and Meh and Terajima (2008), we know that inflation causes major redistribution of wealth - between households and the government, between nationals and foreigners, and between households within the same country. Two types of monetary policy, inflation targeting (IT) and price level targeting (PT), have very different implications for the price level path subsequent to a price-level shock, and consequently, have different redistributional properties which is what we explore in this paper. For Canada, we show that the magnitude of redistributions of an unexpected 1% price-level increase under IT is about three times larger than under PT. Households' and foreigners' wealth losses from a price level increase is matched by the gains of the government. Even though this redistribution is zero-sum, we observe positive effects on GDP due to the wealth loss, the lower value of the debt and its associated fiscal adjustment, and the non-linear effects on work effort of the redistribution of wealth across households. Finally, the direction of the change in the weighted welfare of households depends on the fiscal policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Césaire A. Meh & José-Victor Rios-Rull & Yaz Terajima, 2008. "Aggregate and Welfare Effects of Redistribution of Wealth Under Inflation and Price-Level Targeting," Staff Working Papers 08-31, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:08-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    2. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1069-1097, December.
    3. Smets, Frank & Vestin, David & Gaspar, Ví­tor, 2007. "Is time ripe for price level path stability?," Working Paper Series 818, European Central Bank.
    4. Matthias Doepke, "undated". "Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare," UCLA Economics Online Papers 412, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2006. "Government finance in the wake of currency crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 401-440, April.
    6. Steve Ambler, 2009. "Price-Level Targeting and Stabilization Policy: A Review," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2009(Spring), pages 21-31.
    7. Albanesi, Stefania, 2007. "Inflation and inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1088-1114, May.
    8. Agathe Côté, 2007. "Price-Level Targeting," Discussion Papers 07-8, Bank of Canada.
    9. Allan M. Maslove & J. C. R. Rowley, 1975. "Inflation and Redistribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 8(3), pages 399-409, August.
    10. Césaire A. Meh & Yaz Terajima, 2011. "Inflation, nominal portfolios, and wealth redistribution in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1369-1402, November.
    11. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
    12. Statistics Canada, 1997. "Working More? Working Less? What Do Canadian Workers Prefer?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997104e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    13. Vestin, David, 2006. "Price-level versus inflation targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1361-1376, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael, Hatcher, 2013. "Aggregate and welfare effects of long run inflation risk under inflation and price-level targeting," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-19, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Francisco Covas & Yahong Zhang, 2010. "Price-level versus inflation targeting with financial market imperfections," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1302-1332, November.
    3. Carlos Garriga & Finn E. Kydland & Roman Sustek, 2013. "Mortgages and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 19744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:wly:emetrp:v:85:y:2017:i::p:1537-1574 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mele, Antonio & Molnar, Krisztina & Santoro, Sergio, 2014. "On the perils of stabilizing prices when agents are learning," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 1/2015, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    6. Hatcher, Michael, 2014. "Indexed versus nominal government debt under inflation and price-level targeting," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 126-145.
    7. Eswar Prasad & Boyang Zhang, 2015. "Distributional Effects of Monetary Policy in Emerging Market Economies," NBER Working Papers 21471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hatcher, Michael, 2013. "The Inflation Risk Premium on Government Debt in an Overlapping Generations Model," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-81, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    9. Adam, Klaus & Tzamourani, Panagiota, 2016. "Distributional consequences of asset price inflation in the Euro Area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 172-192.
    10. Zervou, Anastasia S., 2013. "Financial market segmentation, stock market volatility and the role of monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 256-272.
    11. Josef Schroth, 2016. "Financial Crisis Interventions," Staff Working Papers 16-29, Bank of Canada.
    12. Jose-Victor Rios Rull & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & Andy Glover, 2011. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," 2011 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Rodrigo Lluberas & Juan Odriozola, 2015. "Inflation, currency depreciation and households balance sheet in Uruguay," Documentos de trabajo 2015009, Banco Central del Uruguay.
    14. Iulian Vasile Popescu, 2012. "Price-Level Targeting – A Viable Alternative To Inflation Targeting?," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4(4), pages 809-823, December.
    15. Boris Cournède & Diego Moccero, 2009. "Is there a Case for Price-level Targeting?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 721, OECD Publishing.
    16. Sunel, Enes, 2012. "Transitional Dynamics of Disinflation in a Small Open Economy with Heterogeneous Agents," MPRA Paper 39690, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Meh, Césaire A. & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Terajima, Yaz, 2015. "Limited Nominal Indexation of Optimal Financial Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 10330, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Sunel, Enes, 2010. "On inflation, wealth inequality and welfare in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 25943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Xu, Shaofeng, 2016. "On the welfare cost of rare housing disasters," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 301-318.
    20. Nils Gornemann & Keith Kuester & Makoto Nakajima, 2012. "Monetary policy with heterogeneous agents," Working Papers 12-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    21. Dib, Ali & Mendicino, Caterina & Zhang, Yahong, 2013. "Price-level targeting rules and financial shocks: The case of Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 941-953.
    22. Eagle, David M., 2012. "Nominal GDP targeting for a speedier economic recovery," MPRA Paper 39821, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2017. "Money as a Unit of Account," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1537-1574, September.
    24. repec:jes:wpaper:y:2012:v:4:p:809-823 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Hatcher, Michael C., 2011. "Comparing inflation and price-level targeting: A comprehensive review of the literature," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2011/22, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.

    More about this item


    Economic models; Monetary policy framework; Sectoral balance sheet; Inflation: costs and benefits; Inflation targets; Inflation and prices;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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