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Monetary Policy and the Well-Being of the Poor

  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

This paper investigates monetary policy's influence on poverty and inequality in both the short run and the long run. We find that the short-run and long-run relationships go in opposite directions. The time-series evidence from the United States shows that a cyclical boom created by expansionary monetary policy is associated with improved conditions for the poor in the short run. The cross-section evidence from a large sample of countries, however, shows that low inflation and stable aggregate demand growth are associated with improved well-being of the poor in the long run. Both the short-run and long-run relationships are quantitatively large, statistically significant, and robust. But because the cyclical effects of monetary policy are inherently temporary, we conclude that monetary policy that aims at low inflation and stable aggregate demand is the most likely to permanently improve conditions for the poor.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6793.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6793.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Publication status: published as Proceedings of a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City symposium: "Income Inequality Issues and Policy Options," Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 27-29, 1998, pp. 159-201
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6793
Note: ME
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  1. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  3. Blinder, Alan S & Esaki, Howard Y, 1978. "Macroeconomic Activity and Income Distribution in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 604-09, November.
  4. Metcalf, Charles E, 1969. "The Size Distribution of Personal Income during the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 657-68, Part I Se.
  5. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Inflation and growth," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 153-169.
  6. Michael Bruno & William Easterly, 1995. "Inflation Crises and Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 5209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Guy Debelle & Douglas Laxton, 1997. "Is the Phillips Curve Really a Curve? Some Evidence for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 249-282, June.
  8. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
  9. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1993. "Poverty, Income Distribution, and Growth: Are They Still Connected," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 285-340.
  10. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  11. Robert J. Shiller, 1997. "Public Resistance to Indexation: A Puzzle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 159-228.
  12. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  13. Douglas Laxton & Peter B. Clark & David Rose, 1995. "Asymmetry in the U.S. Output-Inflation Nexus; Issues and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 95/76, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Al-Marhubi, Fahim, 1997. "A note on the link between income inequality and inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 317-319, September.
  15. Cukierman, Alex & Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Summers, Lawrence H. & Webb, Steven B., 1993. "Central bank independence, growth, investment, and real rates," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 95-140, December.
  16. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Castaneda, Ana & Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1998. "Exploring the income distribution business cycle dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 93-130, June.
  18. Perl, Lewis J & Solnick, Loren M, 1971. "A Note on 'Trickling Down'," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 171-78, February.
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