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The Optimal Inflation Target and the Natural Rate of Interest

Author

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  • Philippe Andrade
  • Hervé Le Bihan

    () (Banque de France)

  • Julien Matheron

    () (Banque de France)

  • Jordi Gali

Abstract

We study how changes in the steady-state real interest rate affect the optimal inflation target in a New Keynesian DSGE model with trend inflation and a lower bound on the nominal interest rate. In this setup, a lower steady-state real interest rate increases the probability of hitting the lower bound. That effect can be counteracted by an increase in the inflation target, but the resulting higher steady-state inflation has a welfare cost in and of itself. We use an estimated DSGE model to quantify that tradeoff and determine the implied optimal inflation target, conditional on the monetary policy rule in place before the financial crisis. The relation between the steady-state real interest rate and the optimal inflation target is downward sloping. While the increase in the optimal inflation rate is in general smaller than the decline in the steady-state real interest rate, in the currently empirically relevant region the slope of the relation is found to be close to –1. That slope is robust to allowing for parameter uncertainty. Under “make-up” strategies such as price level targeting, the required increase in the optimal inflation target under a lower steady-state real interest rate is, however, much smaller.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Andrade & Hervé Le Bihan & Julien Matheron & Jordi Gali, 2019. "The Optimal Inflation Target and the Natural Rate of Interest," Working Papers 19-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 01 Oct 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:87412
    DOI: 10.29412/res.wp.2019.18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Günter Coenen & Carlos Montes-Galdón & Frank Smets, 2019. "Effects of State-Dependent Forward Guidance, Large-Scale Asset Purchases and Fiscal Stimulus in a Low-Interest-Rate Environment," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/983, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Davide Debortoli & Jordi Galí & Luca Gambetti, 2019. "On the Empirical (Ir)relevance of the Zero Lower Bound Constraint," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2019, volume 34, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Janice C. Eberly & James H. Stock & Jonathan H. Wright, 2019. "The Federal Reserve’s Current Framework for Monetary Policy: A Review and Assessment," NBER Working Papers 26002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Brand, Claus & Bielecki, Marcin & Penalver, Adrian, 2018. "The natural rate of interest: estimates, drivers, and challenges to monetary policy JEL Classification: E52, E43," Occasional Paper Series 217, European Central Bank.
    5. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Stanislao Gualdi & Marco Tarzia & Francesco Zamponi, 2018. "Optimal inflation target: insights from an agent-based model," Post-Print hal-01768441, HAL.
    6. Ren Zhang & Valerie Grossman & Enrique Martinez-Garcia & Mark A. Wynne, 2019. "Ties That Bind: Estimating the Natural Rate of Interest for Small Open Economies," Globalization Institute Working Papers 359, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 31 Mar 2019.
    7. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14142 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tomohide Mineyama & Wataru Hirata & Kenji Nishizaki, 2019. "Inflation and Social Welfare in a New Keynesian Model: The Case of Japan and the U.S," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 19-E-10, Bank of Japan.
    9. Koeda, Junko, 2019. "Macroeconomic effects of quantitative and qualitative monetary easing measures," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 121-141.
    10. Antoine Lepetit, 2018. "The Optimal Inflation Rate with Discount Factor Heterogeneity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-086, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe & Gualdi, Stanislao & Tarzia, Marco & Zamponi, Francesco, 2018. "Optimal inflation target: Insights from an agent-based model," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 12, pages 1-27.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation target; steady-state real interest rate; natural interest rate; effective lower bound;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • 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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