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Controlling inflation after Bretton Woods: an analysis based on policy objectives

  • William T. Gavin

This paper reviews the inflation experience in the post-Bretton Woods era in the context of alternative central bankobjectives. It summarizes research on inflation-targeting issues, especially those associated with stabilizing the price level. Generally, inflation-targeting schemes do not provide a nominal anchor unless the central bank is focusing strictly on theinflation target and ignoring unemployment and the business cycle. Research summarized in this article suggests that themost important step a central bank can take to improve policy is to decide on a long-term path for the price level. Being explicit about the desired path for the price level not only reduces inflation variability at all horizons, but also gives the policymaker more flexibility to pursue output stabilization goals.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2000-007.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Inflation Targeting in Transition Economics: The Case of the Czech Republic. Czech National Bank and International Monetary Fund (Chapter 3)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2000-007
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  1. John C. Williams, 1999. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-84, November.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  4. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 6126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard H. Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1997. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 363-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert Dittmar & William T. Gavin, 1999. "What do New-Keynesian Phillips Curves imply for price level targeting?," Working Papers 1999-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1998. "Policy rules and targets: framing the central banker's problem," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 1-14.
  8. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," NBER Working Papers 5719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Estimation and Control of a Macroeconomic Model with Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1267-86, September.
  11. Cecchetti, Stephen G & McConnell, Margaret M & Perez-Quiros, Gabriel, 2002. "Policymakers' Revealed Preferences and the Output-Inflation Variability Trade-Off: Implications for the European System of Central Banks," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(4), pages 596-618, Special I.
  12. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
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