Price level versus inflation rate targets in an open economy with overlapping wage contracts
The standard result in models of sticky prices is that an inflation rate target is better than a price level target at minimizing the variance of real output. This paper provides a contradictory result: a price level target may be preferred in an economy that is characterized by flexible prices in one sector and sticky prices in another sector. An example is a highly open economy that has flexible prices in the tradeable goods sector and sticky prices (due to Taylor-type overlapping wage contracts) in the non-tradeable goods sector. The robustness of these results is confirmed for variants of the model where wage contracts are based on relative real wages (following Fuhrer/Moore (1995) and when monetary policy has a one-period implementation lag relative to wage setters. The paper discusses the implications of the result in the light of New Zealand's current monetary policy framework.
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