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Price Stability vs. Low Inflation in Germany: An Analysis of Costs and Benefits

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  • Karl-Heinz Todter
  • Gerhard Ziebarth

Abstract

We empirically investigate the costs and benefits of going from low inflation to price stability in the case of Germany. Recent empirical evidence on the sacrifice ratio suggests that the break-even point at which the permanent benefits of reducing the trend rate of inflation by 2 percentage points exceeds the temporary costs in terms of output losses is below 0.3% of GDP. We analyze the welfare implications of the interactions even of moderate rates of inflation with the distorting effects of the German tax system. Four areas of economic activity are considered: intertemporal allocation of consumption, demand for owner-occupied housing, money demand, and government debt service. We estimate the direct welfare effects of reducing the rate of inflation as well as the indirect tax revenue effects. We find that reducing the inflation rate by 2 percentage points permanently increases welfare by 1.4% of GDP. Finally, the optimal rate of disinflation is considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl-Heinz Todter & Gerhard Ziebarth, 1997. "Price Stability vs. Low Inflation in Germany: An Analysis of Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6170
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    Cited by:

    1. António Duarte, 2009. "The Portuguese Disinflation Process: Analysis of Some Costs and Benefits," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 16(1), pages 157-173, May.
    2. Gerlach, Stefan & Svensson, Lars E. O., 2003. "Money and inflation in the euro area: A case for monetary indicators?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1649-1672, November.
    3. Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Monetary policy, parameter uncertainty and optimal learning," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 199-228, August.
    4. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2000. "Does the P* Model Provide Any Rationale for Monetary Targeting?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 69-81, February.
    5. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Leo Bonato, 1998. "The benefits of price stability: some estimates for New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 61, September.
    8. Willem H. Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency: gesell's solution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 723-746, October.
    9. Niels Thygesen, "undated". "Evolving Ambitions in Europe’s Monetary Unification," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-04, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    10. Scheide, Joachim, 1998. "Central banks: No reason to ignore money," Kiel Discussion Papers 316, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

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