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Is increased price flexibility stabilizing? Redux

  • Saroj Bhattarai
  • Gauti B. Eggertsson
  • Raphael Schoenle

We study the implications of increased price flexibility on aggregate output volatility in a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. First, using a simplified version of the model, we show analytically that the results depend on the shocks driving the economy and the systematic response of monetary policy to inflation: More flexible prices amplify the effect of demand shocks on output if interest rates do not respond strongly to inflation, while higher flexibility amplifies the effect of supply shocks on output if interest rates are very responsive to inflation. Next, we estimate a medium-scale DSGE model using post-WWII U.S. data and Bayesian methods and, conditional on the estimates of structural parameters and shocks, ask: Would the U.S. economy have been more or less stable had prices been more flexible than historically? Our main finding is that increased price flexibility would have been destabilizing for output and employment.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 540.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:540
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  10. James Tobin, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 387, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Klenow, Peter J. & Malin, Benjamin A., 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 6, pages 231-284 Elsevier.
  12. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1999. "Consumption and Portfolio Decisions when Expected Returns are Time Varying," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 433-495.
  13. Gregory de Walque & Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2006. "Price Shocks in General Equilibrium: Alternative Specifications," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(1), pages 153-176, March.
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