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The elusive welfare economics of price stability as a monetary policy objective: why New Keynesian central bankers should validate core inflation

  • Buiter, Willem H.

The paper studies the inflation rate associated with optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a number of standard dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models with nominal price rigidities. While the focus is on Calvo-style nominal price contracts with a range of indexation rules for constrained price setters, the conclusions have much wider validity: (1) Regardless of whether nominal price and/or wage rigidities are due to New-Keynesian, Old-Keynesian or sticky-information Phillips curves, optimal inflation policy requires the validation, that is, the full accommodation of core producer inflation by actual producer price inflation;(2) Optimal monetary policy implements Bailey-Friedman optimal quantity of money rule. No welfare-economics based argument for price stability as an objective (let alone the overriding objective) of monetary policy can be established for the class of DSGE models with nominal rigidities for which they have been proposed by Woodford and others. JEL Classification: E3, E4, E5, E6

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0609.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060609
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  1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  3. Willem H. Buiter & Anne C. Sibert, 2004. "Deflationary Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 10642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Inattentive Consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal stabilization policy when wages and prices are sticky: The case of a distorted steady state," Discussion Papers 0405-03, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency : Gesell's solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
  8. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Willem H. Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 1999. "Liquidity Traps: How to Avoid Them and How to Escape Them," NBER Working Papers 7245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  11. Freedman, Charles, 2000. "Monetary Policy Implementation: Past, Present and Future--Will Electronic Money Lead to the Eventual Demise of Central Banking?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 211-27, July.
  12. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies," NBER Working Papers 9491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Buiter, Willem H., 1984. "Policy Evaluation and Design for Continuous Time Linear Rational Expectations Models: Some Recent Developments," CEPR Discussion Papers 15, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Price Stability as a Target for Monetary Policy: Defining and Maintaining Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 7276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1991. "State-Dependent Pricing and the Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 683-708, August.
  17. Willem H. Buiter & Marcus H. Miller, 1983. "Costs and Benefits of an Anti-Inflationary Policy: Questions and Issues," NBER Working Papers 1252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. M. Fase, 2005. "On Economics and Religion," De Economist, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 85-106, December.
  19. Costa Storti, Cláudia & De Grauwe, Paul, 2001. "Monetary Policy in a Cashless Society," CEPR Discussion Papers 2696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Goodhart, Charles A E, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 189-209, July.
  21. Willem H. Buiter, 2005. "New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C1-C31, 03.
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  23. Caplin, Andrew S & Spulber, Daniel F, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-25, November.
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  25. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  27. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 9-110.
  28. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army With Only a Signal Corps," NBER Working Papers 7420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  30. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 19-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army with Only a Signal Corps?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 321-38, November.
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  35. Charles Goodhart, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," FMG Special Papers sp125, Financial Markets Group.
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  37. Hall Robert, 2002. "Controlling the Price Level," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, July.
  38. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  39. Brock, William A, 1974. "Money and Growth: The Case of Long Run Perfect Foresight," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(3), pages 750-77, October.
  40. Edmund S. Phelps, 1968. "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor-Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 678.
  41. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  42. Phelps, Edmund S, 1969. "The New Microeconomics in Inflation and Employment Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 147-60, May.
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