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Inflation Targets as Focal Points

  • Maria Demertzis
  • Nicola Viegi

The benefits of inflation targeting by comparison to alternative regimesare understood to be in terms of providing clearer objectives that help pin down private sector expectations in the long run. We argue that the mechanism for achieving this rests on the fact that monetary policy can be perceived as a matching game in which private agents aim to coordinate their expectations and thus benefit from a clearly given signal that acts as a focal point. We therefore, argue that first, the credibility of the signal achieves coordination and second that the clarity of the signal achieves welfare improvements. To demonstrate that we use Bacharach's, Variable Universe Game framework, which allows for individuals' understanding and interpretation of the signal to differ. As private agents benefit from coordination, they rely a lot on the public signal given. Following this, the Central Bank can then help increase the welfare of agents by providing clear and precise signal that increase the chance of coordination and hence increased welfare.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 017.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:017
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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/

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  2. Hyun Song Shin & Jeffery D. Amato, 2003. "Public and Private Information in Monetary Policy Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 38, Society for Computational Economics.
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  9. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1275R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Aug 2001.
  10. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "What Is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 426-477, June.
  11. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
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  13. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
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  15. Leitemo, Kai, 2008. "Inflation-targeting rules: History-dependent or forward-looking?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 267-270, August.
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  17. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
  18. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2001. "Price ceilings as focal points for tacit collusion: evidence from credit cards," Working Paper Series WP-01-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  19. Glenn D. Rudebusch & John C. Williams, 2006. "Revealing the Secrets of the Temple: The Value of Publishing Central Bank Interest Rate Projections," NBER Working Papers 12638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Johnson, David R., 2002. "The effect of inflation targeting on the behavior of expected inflation: evidence from an 11 country panel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1521-1538, November.
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  22. Bomfim, Antulio N & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 2000. "Opportunistic and Deliberate Disinflation under Imperfect Credibility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 707-21, November.
  23. Frederic S. Mishkin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2001. "One Decade of Inflation Targeting in the World: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," NBER Working Papers 8397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  25. Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2004. "The role of policy rules in inflation targeting," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 89-112.
  26. Casajus, Andre, 2000. "Focal Points in Framed Strategic Forms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 263-291, August.
  27. Andrew Hallett & Nicola Viegi, 2002. "Inflation Targeting as a Coordination Device," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 341-362, October.
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