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Inflation, Inequality, and Social Conflict

  • Christopher W. Crowe

This paper presents and then tests a political economy model to analyze the observed positive relationship between income inequality and inflation. The model's key features are unequal access to both inflation-hedging opportunities and the political process. The model predicts that inequality and 'elite bias' in the political system interact to create incentives for inflation. The paper's empirical section focuses on this predicted interaction effect. The identification strategy involves using the end of the Cold War as a source of exogenous variation in the political environment. It finds robust evidence in support of the model.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/158.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/158
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  1. Andrés Erosa & Gustavo Ventura, 2000. "On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20001, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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  4. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Per Krusell, 1999. "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1156-1181, December.
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  8. Christina D. Romer & David Romer, 1998. "Monetary policy and the well-being of the poor," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 159-201.
  9. Krusell, Per, 2002. "Time-consistent redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 755-769, May.
  10. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Van Der Ploeg, F., 1992. "Does Inequality Cause Inflation? The Political Economy of Inflation, Taxation and Government Debt," Papers 9230, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  11. Ales Bulir, 1998. "Income Inequality; Does Inflation Matter?," IMF Working Papers 98/7, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  13. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 1994. "Wage Indexation and Time Consistency," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 941-50, November.
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  15. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
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  17. 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.
  18. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  19. Fischer, Stanley & Huizinga, John, 1982. "Inflation, Unemployment, and Public Opinion Polls," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(1), pages 1-19, February.
  20. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
  21. Anne Epaulard, 2003. "Macroeconomic Performance and Poverty Reduction," IMF Working Papers 03/72, International Monetary Fund.
  22. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Eliana Cardoso, 1992. "Inflation and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 4006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2001. "Inflation and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 160-78, May.
  25. Robert J. Shiller, 1997. "Why Do People Dislike Inflation?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 13-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Sebastian Edwards & Guido Tabellini, 1991. "Political Instability, Political Weakness and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 3721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 1999. "What Level of Fixed Costs Can Reconcile Consumption and Stock Returns?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 969-997, October.
  28. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "The dynamics of government," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1331-1358, October.
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