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

  • Svensson, Lars E.O.


    (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

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.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 614.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 06 Nov 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0614
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-162000
Fax: +46-8-161443
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  1. Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1996. "Tax Policy and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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 277-95, August.
  3. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1996. "Why Clashes Between Internal and External Stability Goals End in Currency Crises, 1797-1994," NBER Working Papers 5710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:903-947 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "learning-by-exporting" important? Micro-dynamic evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Armen Hovakimian & Edward J. Kane, 1996. "Risk-Shifting by Federally Insured Commercial Banks," NBER Working Papers 5711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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