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Inflation Range Targets with Hard Edges



A number of inflation targeting central banks operate under provisions that allow for increased flexibility when faced with large supply shocks. These so-called escape clauses, however, are usually hard to interpret and discretionary in nature. This paper argues that a practical and more viable option is to specify a hard edged target range. Within the range, the central bank enjoys complete independence. Should, however, a large supply shock force inflation outside the range, the government may overrule the bank unless it adjusts its policy to address the government's concerns. Such an arrangement has the advantage of being easily understood and non-discretionary. Furthermore, it is shown that the bandwidth of the target range is inversely related to the degree of flexibility of the inflation targeting regime and thus, provides an easy way for the central bank to communicate its preferences to the public. The paper also discusses various determinants of the optimal design of the target range.

Suggested Citation

  • Niklas J. Westelius, 2008. "Inflation Range Targets with Hard Edges," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 423, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:423

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
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    6. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    7. Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2007. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 9, pages 291-372 Central Bank of Chile.
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    13. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Michael Ehrmann, 2002. "Does Inflation Targeting Increase Output Volatility?: An International Comparison of Policymakers' Preferences and Outcomes," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 9, pages 247-274 Central Bank of Chile.
    14. Frederic S. Mishkin & Niklas J. Westelius, 2008. "Inflation Band Targeting and Optimal Inflation Contracts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(4), pages 557-582, June.
    15. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1996. "A Price Target for U.S. Monetary Policy? Lessons from the Experience with Money Growth Targets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 77-146.
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    More about this item


    Inflation Range Targeting; Discretion; Escape Clauses;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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