Targets and Inflation Dynamics
Brazil has experienced crucial changes in its inflation process since the adoption of inflation targeting in mid 1999. This article addresses changes in the analytical framework employed to track the inflation dynamics, specifically the relevance of an explicit target for inflation. A New-Keynesian Phillips curve (NKPC) is derived incorporating indexation not only to past inflation but also to inflation targets, generalizing the Woodford (2003) hybrid curve. In our modeling, firms that do not optimally set their prices in a given period adjust them only by indexing their previous prices to a weighted average of the inflation target and lagged inflation. In such a framework, the impact of inflation targets on agents' decisions regarding the supply side can be analytically measured by the parameter associated to the inflation target. It is shown that inflation target affects the welfare-based monetary policy objective function by penalizing deviations of actual inflation from target instead of from zero. This result establishes the micro foundation basis for ad-hoc loss functions as indicated in traditional literature. Therefore, the inflation target also affects the optimal target criterion. We also present a microfounded specification to model inflation expectations, and conclude that when firms attribute a high weight to the government's inflation target when setting their own prices, exchange rate and demand shocks are unable to alter significantly inflation expectations. Such a result gives some light to empirical ad hoc assessment conducted in traditional literature. Our empirical evidence shows that even after major shocks, the target ability of anchoring inflation has been restored. Although not formally tested, such a fact followed the monetary authorities' firm commitment to meet the inflation targets, reinforced by the government's necessary support through a consistent fiscal policy.
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