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Optimal inflation persistence: Ramsey taxation with capital and habits

  • Sanjay Chugh

Ramsey models of fiscal and monetary policy with perfectly-competitive product markets and a fixed supply of capital predict highly volatile inflation with no serial correlation. In this paper, we show that an otherwise-standard Ramsey model that incorporates capital accumulation and habit persistence predicts highly persistent inflation. The result depends on increases in either the ability to smooth consumption or the preference for doing so. The effect operates through the Fisher relationship: a smoother profile of consumption implies a more persistent real interest rate, which in turn implies persistent optimal inflation. Our work complements a recent strand of the Ramsey literature based on models with nominal rigidities. In these models, inflation volatility is lower but continues to exhibit very little persistence. We quantify the effects of habit and capital on inflation persistence and also relate our findings to recent work on optimal fiscal policy with incomplete markets.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 829.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:829
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  1. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2006. "Optimal taxation in an RBC model: A linear-quadratic approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1445-1489.
  2. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Solving dynamic general equilibrium models using a second-order approximation to the policy function," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 755-775, January.
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  5. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  7. Calvo, Guillermo A & Guidotti, Pablo E, 1993. "On the Flexibility of Monetary Policy: The Case of the Optimal Inflation Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 667-87, July.
  8. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
  9. Ravn, Morten O & Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2004. "Deep Habits," CEPR Discussion Papers 4269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Comparing solution methods for dynamic equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2477-2508, December.
  11. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  12. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 2942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Sydney Ludvigson & Xiaohong Chen, 2004. "Land of Addicts? An Empirical Investigation of Habit-Based Asset Pricing Models," 2004 Meeting Papers 692, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Buera, Francisco & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 2004. "Optimal maturity of government debt without state contingent bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 531-554, April.
  15. Carlstrom, Charles T., 2004. "Comments on "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under imperfect competition"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 219-222, June.
  16. Andrew Atkeson & V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
  17. Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 1996. "Optimal taxation without state-contingent debt," Economics Working Papers 170, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2001.
  18. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S223-50, January.
  19. Sanjay K. Chugh, 2004. "Does monetary policy keep up with the Joneses? Optimal interest-rate smoothing with consumption externalities," International Finance Discussion Papers 812, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Uhlig, Harald, 2004. "Comments on "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under imperfect competition"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 211-217, June.
  21. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy With Noncontingent Debt And The Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131, August.
  22. Siu, Henry E., 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with sticky prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 575-607, April.
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