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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. Gertler, Mark & Trigari, Antonella, 2006. "Unemployment fluctuation with staggered Nash wage bargaining," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  2. Federico Ravenna & Carl E. Walsh, 2007. "Vacancies, Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve," Kiel Working Papers 1362, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
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  11. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
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  16. Faia, Ester, 2008. "Optimal monetary policy rules with labor market frictions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1600-1621, May.
  17. Christoffel, Kai & Linzert, Tobias, 2005. "The role of real wage rigidity and labor market frictions for unemployment and inflation dynamics," Working Paper Series 0556, European Central Bank.
  18. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2006. "A new Keynesian model with unemployment," Working Paper Research 92, National Bank of Belgium.
  19. Robert Shimer, 2004. "The Consequences of Rigid Wages in Search Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 469-479, 04/05.
  20. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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  23. Mortensen, Dale T, 1970. "Job Search, the Duration of Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 847-62, December.
  24. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2007. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with costly wage bargaining," International Finance Discussion Papers 893, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  25. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2006. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in a medium-scale macroeconomic model," Working Paper Series 0612, European Central Bank.
  26. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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