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Moderate inflation and the deflation-depression link

  • Jess Benhabib
  • Mark M. Spiegel

In a recent paper, Atkeson and Kehoe (2004) demonstrated the lack of a robust empirical relationship between inflation and growth for a cross-section of countries with 19th and 20th century data, concluding that the historical evidence only provides weak support for the contention that deflation episodes are harmful to economic growth. In this paper, we revisit this relationship by allowing for inflation and growth to have a nonlinear specification dependent on inflation levels. In particular, we allow for the possibility that high inflation is negatively correlated with growth, while a positive relationship exists over the range of negative-to-moderate inflation. Our results confirm a positive relationship between inflation and growth at moderate inflation levels, and support the contention that the relationship between inflation and growth is non-linear over the entire sample range.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-32.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2006-32
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  1. Alan Auerbach & Maurice Obstfeld, 2003. "The case for open-market purchases in a liquidity trap," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  2. Bruno, Michael & Easterly, William, 1998. "Inflation crises and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 3-26, February.
  3. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1998. "Zero nominal interest rates: why they're good and how to get them," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-10.
  4. Benhabib, Jess & Bull, Clive, 1981. "The Optimal Quantity of Money: A Formal Treatment," Working Papers 81-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Atish Ghosh & Steven Phillips, 1998. "Warning: Inflation May Be Harmful to Your Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(4), pages 672-710, December.
  6. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2004. "Deflation and Depression: Is There an Empirical Link?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 99-103, May.
  7. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  8. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1996. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 203-223, April.
  9. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Rolnick, Arthur J & Weber, Warren E, 1997. "Money, Inflation, and Output under Fiat and Commodity Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1308-21, December.
  11. Ruth Judson & Athanasios Orphanides, 1996. "Inflation, volatility and growth," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1976. "Rational expectations and the role of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, January.
  13. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2000. "Paths of development for early- and late-bloomers in a dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin model," Staff Report 256, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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