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Inflation and Welfare: Comment on Robert Lucas


  • Hans-Werner Sinn


The paper argues that Lucas overestimates the Friedman-Bailey type of welfare cost of inflation and neglects other important welfare effects. With an alternative interpretation of the non-observability of low interest rates than the one Lucas gave and the introduction of taxes that reduce the opportunity cost of money holding, the welfare cost shrinks to one third of Lucas' estimate. The neglected welfare effects of inflation include an adverse Baumol-Tobin effect on growth and international capital movements, historical cost accounting for tax purposes, uncertainty about the price level and the relationship between inflation, relative prices and structural change.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Werner Sinn, 1999. "Inflation and Welfare: Comment on Robert Lucas," NBER Working Papers 6979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6979
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2001. "Is There a Desirable Rate of Inflation? A Theoretical and Empirical Survey," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(2), pages 49-83, May.
    2. Tsyplakov Alexander, 2001. "Does Lower Inflation Imply Lower Price Uncertainty?," EERC Working Paper Series 2k/06e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

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    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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