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The welfare cost of inflation in general equilibrium

  • Michael Dotsey
  • Peter Ireland

This paper presents a general equilibrium monetary model in which inflation distorts a variety of marginal decisions. Although individually none of the distortions is very large, they combine to yield substantial welfare cost estimates. A sustained 4% inflation like that experienced in the U.S. since 1983 costs the economy the equivalent of 0.41% of output per year when currency is identified as the relevant definition of money and over 1% of output per year when M1 is defined as money. The results illustrate how the traditional, partial equilibrium approach can seriously underestimate the true cost of inflation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 94-04.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:94-04
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  8. Wilbur John Coleman II, 1988. "Money, interest, and capital in a cash-in-advance economy," International Finance Discussion Papers 323, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Wang, P. & Yip, C.K., 1993. "Real Effects of Money and Welfare Costs of Inflation in an Endogenously Growing Economy with Transactions Costs," Papers 3-92-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  10. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
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  12. Thomas F. Cooley & Gary D. Hansen, 1987. "The Inflation Tax in a Real Business Cycle Model," UCLA Economics Working Papers 496, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Schreft, Stacey L., 1992. "Welfare-improving credit controls," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 57-72, October.
  14. Gomme, Paul, 1993. "Money and growth revisited : Measuring the costs of inflation in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-77, August.
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  17. CHARLES T. Carlstrom & WILLIAM T. Gavin, 1993. "Zero Inflation: Transition Costs And Shoe Leather Benefits," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(1), pages 9-17, 01.
  18. 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.
  19. Fischer, Stanley, 1981. "Towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 5-41, January.
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  24. Cooley, Thomas F & Hansen, Gary D, 1991. "The Welfare Costs of Moderate Inflations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 483-503, August.
  25. Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The welfare cost of inflation under imperfect insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 79-91, January.
  26. Lucas, Robert E., 1981. "Discussion of : Stanley Fischer, "towards an understanding of the costs of inflation: II"," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 43-52, January.
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