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Optimal inflation persistence: Ramsey taxation with capital and habits

  • Sanjay K. 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. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2004. "Optimal Taxation in an RBC Model: A Linear-Quadratic Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 4764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy under Imperfect Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 2688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:oup:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:1:p:195-218 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  7. 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.
  8. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy with Noncontingent Debt and the Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131.
  9. Kenneth L. Judd, 2002. "Capital-Income Taxation with Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 417-421, May.
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  12. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  15. S. B. Aruoba & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2005. "Comparing Solution Methods for Dynamic Equilibrium Economies," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000855, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.).
  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. 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.
  20. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Staff Report 147, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Guillermo A. Calvo & Pablo E. Guidotti, 1993. "On the Flexibility of Monetary Policy: The Case of the Optimal Inflation Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 667-687.
  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.
  23. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  24. Uhlig, Harald, 2004. "Comments on "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under imperfect competition"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 211-217, June.
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