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Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?

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  • Svensson, Lars E O

Abstract

Price-level targeting (without base drift) and inflation targeting (with base drift) are compared under commitment and discretion, with persistence in unemployment. Price-level targeting is often said to imply more short-run inflation variability and thereby more employment variability than inflation targeting. Counter to this conventional wisdom, under discretion a price-level target results in lower inflation variability than an inflation target (if unemployment is at least moderately persistent). A price-level target also eliminates the inflation bias under discretion and, as is well known, reduces long-term price variability. Society may be better off assigning a price-level target to the central bank even if its preferences correspond to inflation targeting. A price-level target thus appears to have more advantages than commonly acknowledged.

Suggested Citation

  • Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1510, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1510
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    Keywords

    Inflation Targets; Price Stability;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • 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

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