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Inflationary Equilibrium in a Stochastic Economy with Independent Agents

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Abstract

We argue that even when macroeconomic variables are constant, underlying microeconomic uncertainty and borrowing constraints generate inflation. We study stochastic economies with fiat money, a central bank, one nondurable commodity, countably many time periods, and a continuum of agents. The aggregate amount of the commodity remains constant, but the endowments of individual agents fluctuate "independently" in a random fashion from period to period. Agents hold money and, prior to bidding in the commodity market each period, can either borrow from or deposit in a central bank at a fixed rate of interest. If the interest rate is strictly positive, then typically there will not exist an equilibrium with a stationary wealth distribution and a fixed price for the commodity. Consequently, we investigate stationary equilibria with inflation, in which aggregate wealth and prices rise deterministically and at the same rate. Such an equilibrium does exist under appropriate bounds on the interest rate set by the central bank and on the amount of borrowing by the agents. If there is no uncertainty, or if the stationary strategies of the agents select actions in the interior of their action sets in equilibrium, then the classical Fisher equation for the rate of inflation continues to hold and the real rate of interest is equal to the common discount rate of the agents. However, with genuine uncertainty in the endowments and with convex marginal utilities, no interior equilibrium can exist. The equilibrium inflation must then be higher than that predicted by the Fisher equation, and the equilibrium real rate of interest underestimates the discount rate of the agents.

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  • John Geanakoplos & Ioannis Karatzas & Martin Shubik & William D. Sudderth, 2009. "Inflationary Equilibrium in a Stochastic Economy with Independent Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1708, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1708
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    1. Karatzas, Ioannis & Shubik, Martin & Sudderth, William D., 1997. "A strategic market game with secured lending," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 207-247, September.
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    3. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    4. Ioannis Karatzas & Martin Shubik & William D. Sudderth, 1992. "Construction of Stationary Markov Equilibria in a Strategic Market Game," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1033, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Richard Bellman, 1957. "On a Dynamic Programming Approach to the Caterer Problem--I," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 270-278, April.
    6. Moritz Kuhn, 2013. "Recursive Equilibria In An Aiyagari‐Style Economy With Permanent Income Shocks," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 807-835, August.
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    11. Ioannis Karatzas & Martin Shubik & William Sudderth & John Geanakoplos, 2006. "The inflationary bias of real uncertainty and the harmonic Fisher equation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 481-512, August.
    12. Clarida, Richard H, 1990. "International Lending and Borrowing in a Stochastic, Stationary Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(3), pages 543-558, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Shubik, 2016. "Three Lectures on the Theory of Money and Financial Institutions: Lecture 1: A Nontechnical Overview," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2036, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Martin Shubik, 2016. "Three Essays on the Theory of Money and Financial Institutions: Essay 1: A Nontechnical Overview," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2036R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation; Economic equilibrium and dynamics; Dynamic programming; Consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • 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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