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Price Level Targeting and Inflation Targeting: a Review

  • Sofía Bauducco
  • Rodrigo Caputo

In this paper we discuss the arguments for and against the adoption of price-level targeting. We review recent theoretical contributions, and illustrate the main differences between price-level targeting and inflation targeting in a simple New Keynesian model. We conclude that, contrary to conventional wisdom, price-level targeting can, in some circumstances, deliver better outcomes than inflation targeting. Its main advantage lies on the fact that it acts as a commitment device when the Central Bank is unable to commit to its future actions. However, even in the circumstances under which price-level targeting performs better, there are three caveats to be considered. First, a higher proportion of backward-looking price setters reduces the effectiveness of price-level targeting, because it weakens the expectational channel through which price-level targeting operates. Second, communicating a price-level target may be a difficult task for the Central Bank. Finally, price-level targeting itself is not immune to considerations of time-inconsistency.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 601.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:601
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  1. Anton Nakov, 2006. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0637, Banco de Espa�a.
  2. Galí, Jordi & Monacelli, Tommaso, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  4. Gino Cateau & Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2009. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility in ToTEM," Staff Working Papers 09-17, Bank of Canada.
  5. Steve Ambler, 2009. "Price-Level Targeting and Stabilization Policy: A Review," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2009(Spring), pages 21-31.
  6. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2008. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New-Keynesian Model with Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Preston, Bruce, 2008. "Adaptive learning and the use of forecasts in monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3661-3681, November.
  8. Givens, Gregory E., 2009. "Which price level to target? Strategic delegation in a sticky price and wage economy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 685-698, December.
  9. McCallum, Bennett T, 2000. "Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 870-904, November.
  10. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  11. Dennis, Richard, 2010. "When is discretion superior to timeless perspective policymaking?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 266-277, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Alexander L. Wolman, 2003. "Real implications of the zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper 03-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  14. Volker Wieland (Goethe University Frankfurt) & Günter Coenen (European Central Bank), 2004. "Exchange Rate Policy and the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 65, Society for Computational Economics.
  15. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility," Staff Working Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
  16. Steve Ambler, 2009. "Price-Level Targeting And Stabilisation Policy: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(5), pages 974-997, December.
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