Price Dispersion, Inflation and Welfare
We examine the implications of inflation for both price dispersion and welfare in a monetary search economy. In our economy, if the degree of buyers' incomplete information about prices is fixed, both price dispersion and real prices are increasing in inflation. As the inflation rate approaches the Friedman rule, both price dispersion and welfare losses vanish. If households choose the number of prices to observe, then the optimal inflation rate may exceed the Friedman rule as inflation induces search and, up to a point, raises welfare by eroding market power. Copyright 2005 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.
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