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Should Central Banks Target Investment Prices?

Author

Listed:
  • Susanto Basu

    (Boston College
    NBER)

  • Pierre De Leo

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

Central banks nearly always state explicit or implicit inflation targets in terms of consumer price inflation. If there are nominal rigidities in the pricing of both consumption and investment goods and if the shocks to the two sectors are not identical, then monetary policy cannot stabilize inflation and output gaps in both sectors. Thus, the central bank faces a tradeoff between targeting consumption price inflation and investment price inflation. In this setting, ignoring investment prices typically leads to substantial welfare losses because the intertemporal elasticity of substitution in investment is much higher than in consumption. In our calibrated model, consumer price targeting leads to welfare losses that are at least three times the loss under optimal policy. A simple rule that puts equal weight on stabilizing consumption and investment price inflation comes close to replicating the optimal policy. Thus, GDP deflator targeting is not a good approximation to optimal policy. A shift in monetary policy to targeting a weighted average of consumer and investment price inflation may produce significant welfare gains, although this would constitute a major change in current central banking practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Susanto Basu & Pierre De Leo, 2016. "Should Central Banks Target Investment Prices?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 910, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 04 May 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:910
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ikeda, Daisuke, 2015. "Optimal inflation rates with the trending relative price of investment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 20-33.
    2. Neiss, Katharine S. & Nelson, Edward, 2003. "The Real-Interest-Rate Gap As An Inflation Indicator," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 239-262, April.
    3. Huang, Kevin X.D. & Liu, Zheng, 2005. "Inflation targeting: What inflation rate to target?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1435-1462, November.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, September.
    5. Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew, 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with durable consumption goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1341-1359, October.
    6. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg (ed.), 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026252242x, March.
    7. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "Editorial in "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation Targeting; Investment-Specific Technical Change; Investment Price Rigidity; Optimal Monetary Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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