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Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?

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  • Svensson, Lars E.O.

    () (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

Abstract

Price level targeting (without base drift) and inflation targeting (with base drift) are compared under commitment and discretion, with persistence in unemployment. Price level targeting is often said to imply more short-run inflation variability and thereby more employment variability than inflation targeting. Counter to this conventional wisdom, under discretion a price level target results in lower inflation variability than an inflation target (if unemployment is at least moderately persistent). A price level target also eliminates the inflation bias under discretion and, as is well known, reduces long-term price variability. Society may be better off assigning a price level target to the central bank even if its preferences correspond to inflation targeting. A price level target thus appears to have more advantages than commonly aknowledged.

Suggested Citation

  • Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Seminar Papers 614, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0614
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    2. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    3. Armen Hovakimian & Edward J. Kane, 1996. "Risk-Shifting by Federally Insured Commercial Banks," NBER Working Papers 5711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael Bordo & Anna Schwartz, 1996. "Why clashes between internal and external stability goals end in currency crises, 1797–1994," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 437-468, March.
    5. Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Tax Policy and Investment," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53049.
    6. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 73-90, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price stability; inflation targets;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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