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Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare

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  • Matthias Doepke

Abstract

Episodes of unanticipated inflation reduce the real value of nominal claims and thus redistribute wealth from lenders to borrowers. In this study, we consider redistribution as a channel for aggregate and welfare effects of inflation. We model an inflation episode as an unanticipated shock to the wealth distribution in a quantitative overlapping-generations model of the U.S. economy. While the redistribution shock is zero sum, households react asymmetrically, mostly because borrowers are younger on average than lenders. As a result, inflation generates a decrease in labour supply as well as an increase in savings. Even though inflation-induced redistribution has a persistent negative effect on output, it improves the weighted welfare of domestic households.
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  • Matthias Doepke, "undated". "Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare," UCLA Economics Online Papers 412, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:uclaol:412
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    Cited by:

    1. Yaz Terajima & Jose-Victor Rıos-Rull & Cesaire A. Meh & Shutao Cao, 2010. "Inflation, Nominal Debt, Housing, and Welfare," 2010 Meeting Papers 979, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Adam, Klaus & Tzamourani, Panagiota, 2016. "Distributional consequences of asset price inflation in the Euro Area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 172-192.
    3. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
    4. Dressler, Scott, 2016. "A long-run, short-run, and politico-economic analysis of the welfare costs of inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 255-269.
    5. Jose-Victor Rios Rull & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & Andy Glover, 2011. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," 2011 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Meh, Césaire A. & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Terajima, Yaz, 2010. "Aggregate and welfare effects of redistribution of wealth under inflation and price-level targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 637-652, September.
    7. Scott J. Dressler, 2011. "A Long-Run, Short-Run and Politico-Economic Analysis of the Welfare Costs of Inflation," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 16, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
    8. Sunel, Enes, 2010. "On inflation, wealth inequality and welfare in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 25943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Bampinas, Georgios & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2016. "Hedging inflation with individual US stocks: A long-run portfolio analysis," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 374-392.
    10. Rodrigo Lluberas & Juan Odriozola, 2015. "Inflation, currency depreciation and households balance sheet in Uruguay," Documentos de trabajo 2015009, Banco Central del Uruguay.
    11. Sunel, Enes, 2012. "Transitional Dynamics of Disinflation in a Small Open Economy with Heterogeneous Agents," MPRA Paper 39690, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Schneider, Martin, 2014. "Redistribution effects of inflation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 49-51.
    13. Geert Bekaert & Xiaozheng Wang, 2010. "Inflation risk and the inflation risk premium," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 755-806, October.
    14. Evan F. Koenig, 2013. "Like a Good Neighbor: Monetary Policy, Financial Stability, and the Distribution of Risk," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(2), pages 57-82, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General

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