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The Elusive Welfare Economics of Price Stability as a Monetary Policy Objective: Should New Keynesian Central Bankers Pursue Price Stability?

  • Willem H. Buiter

The paper studies the inflation rate associated with optimal monetary policy in a standard suite of DSGE models, when fiscal policy is either unrestricted optimal or restricted but supportive of monetary policy. Full nominal price flexibility, nominal prices set one period in advance and Calvo-style staggered overlapping price contracts with a variety of indexation rules for constrained price setters are considered. For all price setting models, optimal monetary policy implements the Bailey-Friedman Optimal Quantity of Money (OQM) rule: the pecuniary opportunity cost of holding money is equal to zero. There is an optimal inflation rate for producer prices in the Calvo model, given by the 'core inflation' process generated by the indexation rule of the constrained price setters. It is constant only if core inflation is constant. A zero rate of producer price inflation is necessary for optimality in the Calvo model, only if all of the following conditions hold. (1) There is no money or the nominal interest rate on money can be set freely. (2) The constrained price setters of the Calvo model implement an ill-posed, arbitrary price indexation rule, such as the lagged partial indexation rule used by Woodford to make a case for price stability. (3) The authorities use neither their tax instruments nor the nominal interest rate to validate the core inflation process. These results are global - they do not depend on linear approximations at a deterministic, zero-inflation steady state.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10848.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10848
Note: IFM ME
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  1. Svensson, Lars, 1999. "Price Stability as a Target for Monetary Policy: Defining and Maintaining Price Stability," Seminar Papers 673, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Buiter, Willem H. & Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos, 1999. "Liquidity Traps: How to Avoid Them and How to Escape Them," CEPR Discussion Papers 2203, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Willem H. Buiter, 1984. "Policy evaluation and design for continuous time linear rational expectations models: some recent development," NBER Technical Working Papers 0034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1989. "State-Dependent Pricing And The Dynamics Of Money And Output," Discussion Papers 1989_32, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Helicopter Money: Irredeemable Fiat Money and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 10163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 19-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Willem H. Buiter & Marcus H. Miller, 1983. "Costs and Benefits of an Anti-Inflationary Policy: Questions and Issues," NBER Working Papers 1252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Charles Goodhart, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," FMG Special Papers sp125, Financial Markets Group.
  10. Costa Storti, Cláudia & De Grauwe, Paul, 2001. "Monetary Policy in a Cashless Society," CEPR Discussion Papers 2696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. Hall Robert, 2002. "Controlling the Price Level," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, July.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  14. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army With Only a Signal Corps," NBER Working Papers 7420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Willem Buiter & Anne Sibert, 2004. "Deflationary Bubbles," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0409, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  16. Buiter, Willem H., 1985. "International Monetary Policy to Promote Economic Recovery," CEPR Discussion Papers 55, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 6112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  19. Caplin, Andrew S & Spulber, Daniel F, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-25, November.
  20. Freedman, Charles, 2000. "Monetary Policy Implementation: Past, Present and Future--Will Electronic Money Lead to the Eventual Demise of Central Banking?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 211-27, July.
  21. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army with Only a Signal Corps?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 321-38, November.
  22. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency : Gesell's solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  23. Buiter, Willem H & Jewitt, Ian, 1981. "Staggered Wage Setting with Real Wage Relativities: Variations on a Theme of Taylor," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 49(3), pages 211-28, September.
  24. Buiter, Willem H., 2004. "A Small Corner of Intertemporal Public Finance - New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two Ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos," CEPR Discussion Papers 4407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Goodhart, Charles A E, 2000. "Can Central Banking Survive the IT Revolution?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 189-209, July.
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  28. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. M. Fase, 2005. "On Economics and Religion," De Economist, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 85-106, December.
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