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Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence

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  • David Romer

Abstract

This paper points out and tests a straight forward but previously unnoticed prediction of models in which the absence of precommitment in monetary policy leads to excessive inflation. Because unanticipated monetary expansion leads to real exchange rate depreciation, and because the harms of real depreciation are greater in more open economies, the benefits of surprise expansion are decreasing in the degree of openness. Thus, under discretionary policy-making, money growth and inflation will be lower in more open economies. After presenting a simple theoretical model demonstrating this prediction of the theory, the paper examines the link between openness and inflation using cross-country data. The data reveal a strong negative link between openness and inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • David Romer, 1991. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3936
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    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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    5. Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sheffrin, S.M., 1988. "Two Tests Of Rational Partisan Business Cycle Theory," Papers 54, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    7. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-555, June.
    8. Fischer, Stanley, 1990. "Rules versus discretion in monetary policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1155-1184 Elsevier.
    9. 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 473-491, June.
    10. Driscoll, Michael J & Lahiri, Ashok, K, 1983. "Income-Velocity of Money in Agricultural Developing Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 393-401, August.
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