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A policy-sensible core-inflation measure for the euro area

  • Stefano Siviero

    ()

    (Banca d'Italia)

  • Giovanni Veronese

    ()

    (Banca d'Italia)

Although the concept of core inflation is apparently well defined and intuitively appealing, its practical usefulness has often been questioned on at least two accounts: first, existing core inflation measures are by and large exclusively based on statistical criteria and thus lack a firm theoretical justification; second, there appears to be no generally accepted and plausible criterion to assess the empirical performance of competing measures. Both criticisms are indeed justified. In this paper we propose an approach to build a benchmark measure of core inflation that aims to overcome those drawbacks. Our measure is based on a criterion that explicitly treats core inflation as a wholly artificial concept whose usefulness rests only on its role in defuse inflationary pressures that may be in the pipeline. Our measure is obtained by conveniently combining disaggregate information coming from price sub-indices, as is the case for the most popular core inflation measures. However, we depart from all other approaches by combining the information available in price sub-indices in such a way so as to provide the best guidance to a forward-looking monetary policy-maker. Accordingly, our measure of core inflation is based on the solution of a standard monetary policy optimisation problem. We illustrate our approach using a simple estimated model of the euro-area economy and appraise the performance of a few of the most popular core inflation measures in use. We find, generally speaking, that one cannot recommend that those measures be used to support monetary policy-making.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 617.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_617_07
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  1. Cristadoro, Riccardo & Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Veronese, Giovanni, 2001. "A Core Inflation Index for the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 3097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fabio Bagliano & Roberto Golinelli & Claudio Morana, 2002. "Core inflation in the Euro area," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(6), pages 353-357.
  3. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy rules for inflation targeting," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  4. Quah, Danny, 1995. "Measuring Core Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mojon, BenoƮt & Kashyap, Anil K. & Angeloni, Ignazio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 2002. "Monetary Transmission in the Euro Area : Where Do We Stand?," Working Paper Series 0114, European Central Bank.
  6. Andrew G. Haldane & Nicoletta Batini, 1998. "Forward-Looking Rules for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  8. Le Bihan, Herve & Sedillot, Franck, 2000. "Do core inflation measures help forecast inflation?: Out-of-sample evidence from French data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 261-266, December.
  9. Paolo Angelini & Paolo Del Giovane & Stefano Siviero & Daniele Terlizzese, 2002. "Monetary Policy Rules for the Euro Area: What Role for National Information?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 457, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Danny Quah & Danny Quah & Shaun P. Vahey, 1995. "Measuring Core Inflation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0254, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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