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Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with costly wage bargaining

  • David M. Arseneau
  • Sanjay K. Chugh

Costly nominal wage adjustment has received renewed attention in the design of optimal policy. In this paper, we embed costly nominal wage adjustment into the modern theory of frictional labor markets to study optimal fiscal and monetary policy. Our main result is that the optimal rate of price inflation is highly volatile over time despite the presence of sticky nominal wages. This finding contrasts with results obtained using standard sticky-wage models, which employ Walrasian labor markets at their core. The presence of shared rents associated with the formation of long-term employment relationships sets our model apart from previous work on this topic. The existence of rents implies that the optimal policy is willing to tolerate large fluctuations in real wages that would otherwise not be tolerated in a standard model with Walrasian labor markets; as a result, any concern for stabilizing nominal wages does not translate into a concern for stabilizing nominal prices. Our model also predicts that smoothing of labor tax rates over time is a much less quantitatively-important goal of policy than standard models predict. Our results demonstrate that the level at which nominal wage rigidity is modeled -- whether simply lain on top of a Walrasian market or articulated in the context of an explicit relationship between workers and firms -- can matter a great deal for policy recommendations.

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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 893.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:893
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  1. Thomas, Carlos, 2008. "Search and matching frictions and optimal monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 936-956, July.
  2. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2008. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in customer markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 919, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2006. "Ramsey Meets Hosios: The Optimal Capital Tax and Labor Market Efficiency," 2006 Meeting Papers 568, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. 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.
  5. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2002. "Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Siu, Henry E., 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with sticky prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 575-607, April.
  8. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," Departmental Working Papers 200105, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  9. Carl E. Walsh, 2005. "Labor Market Search, Sticky Prices, and Interest Rate Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 829-849, October.
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  12. 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.
  13. Sanjay K. Chugh, 2005. "Optimal Inflation Persistence: Ramsey Taxation with Capital and Habits," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 369, Society for Computational Economics.
  14. S. Boragan Aruoba & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2006. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy when money is essential," International Finance Discussion Papers 880, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  19. Sanjay K. Chugh, 2006. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy with Sticky Wages and Sticky Prices," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 683-714, October.
  20. Arseneau, David M. & Chugh, Sanjay K., 2008. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with costly wage bargaining," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1401-1414, November.
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  24. 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.
  25. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The Case for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model: Expanded Version," NBER Working Papers 11417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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