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Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy

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  • Torsten Persson
  • Sweder van Wijnbergen

Abstract

Wage and price controls have a long and somewhat disreputable history, presumably because of their frequent use in many countries as short run substitutes for measure~ with more lasting effects on the inflation rate. But, in 1985 and 1986, Argentina, Brazil, and Israel used extensive wage-price controls as part of more comprehensive disinflation programs, .often labeled "heterodox" stabilization programs. To date, the Israeli stabilization seems to have succeeded, while the Argentinean and Brazilian stabi1izations have clearly ended in failure. This experience raises many questions. One view is that controlling one nominal variable, namely the money supply, is enough to bring down inflation provided that sound fiscal policies are also adopted. Therefore, wage and price controls should be avoided, because of their microeconomic costs. It is clear that controls do have microeconomic costs, but can they also have macroeconomic benefits? Under which circumstances do controls help in bringing down inflation, and when do they just suppress it temporarily? What is the required supporting role of fiscal and monetary policy while they are in place? These are the issues addressed in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Torsten Persson & Sweder van Wijnbergen, 1989. "Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy," NBER Working Papers 2939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2939
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    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Persson, Torsten, 1988. "An introduction and a broad survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 519-532, March.
    3. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    4. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1988. "Macroeconomic Effects of Price Controls: The Role of Market Structure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 340-354, June.
    7. David Backus & John Driffill, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Policy Credibility Following a Change in Regime," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 211-221.
    8. Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Promises, Promises: Credible Policy Reform via Signalling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 756-772, September.
    9. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-455, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Asilis, Carlos M., 1997. "Price controls and electoral cycles," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 131-142, February.
    2. Kiguel, Miguel A. & Liviatan, Nissan, 1990. "Some implications of policy games for high inflation economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 379, The World Bank.
    3. Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Promises, Promises: Credible Policy Reform via Signalling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 756-772, September.
    4. Kiguel, Miguel A. & Liviatan, Nissan, 1988. "Inflationary rigidities and stabilization policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4, The World Bank.
    5. Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Policy uncertainty and private investment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 229-242, October.
    6. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1991. "Should price reform proceed gradually or in a"big bang?"," Policy Research Working Paper Series 702, The World Bank.
    7. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1988. "Monopolistic competition, credibility and the output costs of disinflation programs An analysis of price controls," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-398, November.
    8. Agenor, Pierre-Richard, 1995. "Credibility effects of price controls in disinflation programs," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 161-171.
    9. Gürbüz Beşek, Yeşim, 2011. "Crédibilité en matière de ciblage d'inflation," GIAM Working Papers 11-1, Galatasaray University Economic Research Center, revised 08 Feb 2011.
    10. Calvo, Guillermo & Vegh, Carlos, 1991. "Exchange rate stabilization under imperfect credibility," MPRA Paper 20486, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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