IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?


  • Lars E. O. Svensson


Price level targeting (without base drift) and inflation targeting (with base drift) are compared under commitment and discretion, with persistence in unemployment. Price level targeting is often said to imply more short-run inflation variability and thereby more employment variability than inflation targeting. Counter to this conventional wisdom, under discretion a price level target results in lower inflation variability than an inflation target (if unemployment is at least moderately persistent). A price level target also eliminates the inflation bias under discretion and, as is well known, reduces long-term price variability. Society may be better off assigning a price level target to the central bank even if its preferences correspond to inflation targeting. A price level target thus appears to have more advantages than commonly acknowledged.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," NBER Working Papers 5719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5719
    Note: IFM ME

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    2. Armen Hovakimian & Edward J. Kane, 1996. "Risk-Shifting by Federally Insured Commercial Banks," NBER Working Papers 5711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 73-90, Fall.
    4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    5. Michael Bordo & Anna Schwartz, 1996. "Why clashes between internal and external stability goals end in currency crises, 1797–1994," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 437-468, March.
    6. Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Tax Policy and Investment," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53049, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5719. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.