Inflation, relative prices and nominal rigidities
This paper examines the distribution of Belgian consumer prices and its interaction with aggregate inflation over the period June 1976-September 2000. Given the fat-tailed nature of this distribution, both classical and robust measures of location, scale and skewness are presented. We found a positive short-run impact of the skewness of relative prices on aggregate inflation, irrespective of the average inflation rate. The dispersion of relative prices has also a positive impact on aggregate inflation in the short run and this impact is significantly lower in the sub-sample starting in 1988 than in the pre-1988 sub-sample, suggesting that the prevailing monetary policy regime has a substantial effect on this coefficient. The chronic right skewness of the distribution, revealed by the robust measures, is positively cointegrated with aggregate inflation, suggesting that it is largely dependent on the inflationary process itself and would disappear at zero inflation. These results have three important implications for monetary policy. First, as to the transmission of monetary policy, our results are in line with the predictions of menu cost models and therefore suggest that this type of friction can be an important factor behind the short run non-neutrality of monetary policy. Second, as to the design of robust estimators of core inflation, economic arguments based on menu cost models tend to highlight the importance of the absence of bias. We have proposed an unbiased estimator by taking the time-varying degree of chronic right skewness explicitly into account. Third, as to the optimal rate of inflation, the chronic right skewness found in the data provides no argument against price stability, as it appears as an endogenous response of optimising price setters and would disappear when targeting a zero inflation rate. This conclusion contrasts sharply with the implications of the exogenously assumed downward rigidity of Tobin (1972), which would justify targeting a sufficiently positive inflation rate in order to facilitate the adjustment of relative prices. Our empirical findings contradict the latter type of downward rigidity which implies a negative correlation between skewness and inflation. Therefore, the cross-sectional properties of Belgian inflation data do not provide strong arguments against a price stability-oriented monetary policy, such as the one pursued by the Eurosystem.
|Date of creation:||May 2002|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Boulevard de Berlaimont 14, B-1000 Bruxelles|
Phone: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 25 34
Fax: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 31 62
Web page: https://www.nbb.be/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1999. "Interpreting The Correlation Between Inflation And The Skewness Of Relative Prices: A Comment On Bryan And," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 197-198, May.
- Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1999. "Interpreting the Correlation Between Inflation and the Skewness of Relative Prices: A Comment on Bryan and Cecchetti," Scholarly Articles 3415439, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Balke, Nathan S. & Wynne, Mark A., 2000.
"An equilibrium analysis of relative price changes and aggregate inflation,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 269-292, April.
- Balke, Nathan S. & Wynne, Mark A., 1996. "An equilibrium analysis of relative price changes and aggregate inflation," Working Papers 9609, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- Richard De Abreu Lourenco & David Gruen, 1995. "Price Stickiness and Inflation," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9502, Reserve Bank of Australia.
- Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-389, April.
- Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1994. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 247-261, March.
- Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 4089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ball, L. & Mankiw, N.G., 1992. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1602, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Anthony Yates, 1998. "Downward nominal rigidity and monetary policy," Bank of England working papers 82, Bank of England.
- Hasan Bakhshi & Tony Yates, 1999. "To trim or not to trim? An application of a trimmmed mean inflation estimator to the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 97, Bank of England.
- Torben M. Andersen, "undated". "Nominal Rigidities and the Optimal Rate of Inflation," Economics Working Papers 2000-19, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Inflation And The Distribution Of Price Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 188-196, May.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1996. "Inflation and the Distribution of Price Changes," NBER Working Papers 5793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1993. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Vega, Juan Luis & Wynne, Mark A., 2001. "An evaluation of some measures of core inflation for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0053, European Central Bank.
- Aucremanne, L., 2000. "The Use of Robust Estimators as Measures of Core Inflation," Papers 2, Warwick - Development Economics Research Centre.
- George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
- Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
- Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1993. "Relative-price changes as aggregate supply shocks," Working Papers 93-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Ball, L. & Mankiw, G.H., 1992. "Relative-Price Change as Aggregate Supply Shocks," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1609, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins II, 1997. "Efficient Inflation Estimation," NBER Working Papers 6183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins, 1997. "Efficient inflation estimation," Working Paper 9707, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Stephen G. Cecchetti & Erica L. Groshen, 2000. "Understanding Inflation: Implications for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 7482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
- Jonathan Kearns, 1998. "The Distribution and Measurement of Inflation," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9810, Reserve Bank of Australia.
- Dickson, David C.M., 1994. "Some Comments on the Compound Binomial Model," ASTIN Bulletin: The Journal of the International Actuarial Association, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 33-45, May.
- Scott Roger, 1997. "A robust measure of core inflation in New Zealand, 1949-96," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G97/7, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
- Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
- Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-708, May.
- Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Peersman, Gert & Smets, Frank, 2001. "Are the effects of monetary policy in the euro area greater in recessions than in booms?," Working Paper Series 0052, European Central Bank.
- Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
- Antti Suvanto & Juhana Hukkinen, 2005. "Stable price level and changing prices," Macroeconomics 0508034, EconWPA.
- Scott Roger, 2000. "Relative Prices, Inflation and Core Inflation," IMF Working Papers 00/58, International Monetary Fund.
- Luc Aucremanne, 2000. "The use of robust estimators as measures of core inflation," Working Paper Research 02, National Bank of Belgium. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)