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The welfare consequences of monetary policy

  • Federico Ravenna
  • Carl E. Walsh

We explore the distortions in business cycle models arising from inefficiencies in price setting and in the search process matching firms to unemployed workers, and the implications of these distortions for monetary policy. To this end, we characterize the tax instruments that would implement the first best equilibrium allocations and then examine the trade-offs faced by monetary policy when these tax instruments are unavailable. Our findings are that the welfare cost of search inefficiency can be large, but the incentive for policy to deviate from the inefficient flexible-price allocation is in general small. Sizable welfare gains are available if the steady state of the economy is inefficient, and these gains do not depend on the existence of an inefficient dispersion of wages. Finally, the gains from deviating from price stability are larger in economies with more volatile labor flows, as in the U.S.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009-12.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2009-12
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  1. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2006. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 383-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2007. "Optimal simple and implementable monetary and fiscal rules," Working Paper 2007-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2006. "Linear-quadratic approximation of optimal policy problems," Discussion Papers 0607-02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
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  8. Thomas Lubik & Michael Krause, 2003. "The (Ir)relevance of Real Wage Rigidity in the New Keynesian Model with Search Frictions," Economics Working Paper Archive 504, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
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  12. Walsh, Carl E., 2003. "Labor Market Search, Sticky Prices, and Interest Rate Policies," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6tg550dv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  13. Christoffel, Kai & Linzert, Tobias, 2006. "The role of real wage rigidity and labor market frictions for unemployment and inflation dynamics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,11, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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  19. Cooley, Thomas F. & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "A neoclassical model of the Phillips curve relation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 165-193, October.
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  26. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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