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Credit Markets and the Welfare Costs of Inflation


  • Jose De Gregorio
  • Federico Sturzenegger


We construct a simple model in which high inflation imposes welfare costs because it affects the ability of the financial sector to screen between high and low cost producers. Consumers search for a low price and inflation reduces the incentives to search, resulting in an increase in the demand of high cost producers. We show that beyond a certain level of inflation there is a switch from a separating equilibrium to a pooling equilibrium, where financial institutions become unable to distinguish among clients. In this pooling equilibrium a larger share of credit is allocated to less efficient firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose De Gregorio & Federico Sturzenegger, 1994. "Credit Markets and the Welfare Costs of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4873
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. De Gregorio, Jose, 1993. "Inflation, taxation, and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 271-298, June.
    2. Mariano Tommasi, 1996. "High inflation: resource misallocations and growth effects," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 23(2 Year 19), pages 157-177, December.
    3. De Gregorio, Jose & Sturzenegger, Federico, 1997. "Financial markets and inflation under imperfect information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 149-168, October.
    4. Kalyan Chatterjee & William Samuelson, 1983. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 31(5), pages 835-851, October.
    5. Roland Benabou, 1988. "Search, Price Setting and Inflation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 353-376.
    6. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    7. Casella, Alessandra & Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1990. "Economic Exchange during Hyperinflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 1-27, February.
    8. Mariano Tommasi, 1992. "The Welfare Effects of Inflation, The Consequences of Price Instability on Search Markets," UCLA Economics Working Papers 655, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Rudiger Dornbusch & Ferico Sturzenegger & Holger Wolf, 1990. "Extreme Inflation: Dynamics and Stabilization," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(2), pages 1-84.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tommasi, Mariano, 1999. "On high inflation and the allocation of resources," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 401-421, December.
    2. Andres, Javier & Hernando, Ignacio & Lopez-Salido, J. David, 2004. "The role of the financial system in the growth-inflation link: the OECD experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 941-961, November.
    3. Ciżkowicz, Piotr & Rzońca, Andrzej, 2013. "Does inflation harm corporate investment? Empirical evidence from OECD countries," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 7, pages 1-38.
    4. Ciżkowicz, Piotr & Rzońca, Andrzej, 2010. "Inflation and corporate investment in selected OECD countries in the years 1960-2005 – an empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 29846, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jones, L.E. & Manuelli, R.E, 1997. "Policy Uncertainty and Informational Monopolies: The Case of Monetary Policy," Working papers 9715, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    6. A.R. Kemal & Abdul Qayyum & Muhammad Nadim Hanif, 2007. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Evidence from a Heterogeneous Panel of High Income Countries," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 1-34, Jan-Jun.
    7. Bruno, Michael & Easterly, William, 1998. "Inflation crises and long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 3-26, February.
    8. Qayyum, Abdul & Siddiqui, Rehana & Hanif, Muhammad Nadim, 2004. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Evidence from Heterogeneous Panel Data of Low Income Countries," MPRA Paper 23431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Jorge E. Restrepo L. & Luis Salomó S. & Rodrigo O. Valdés P., 2009. "Macroeconomy, Monetary Policy and Central Bank Capitalization," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 12(1), pages 5-38, April.
    10. De Gregorio, Jose & Sturzenegger, Federico, 1997. "Financial markets and inflation under imperfect information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 149-168, October.
    11. Javier Andrés & Ignacio Hernando & J. David López-Salido, 1999. "Assessing the benefits of price stability: The international experience," Estudios Económicos, Banco de España;Estudios Económicos Homepage, number 69.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy


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