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Inflation Stabilization and Welfare

  • Michael Woodford

This paper derives loss functions for monetary policy that are grounded in the welfare of private agents, for optimizing models with nominal price rigidities. Inflation stabilization enhances welfare, insofar as variable inflation results in real distortions when prices are not adjusted throughout the economy in a perfectly synchronized fashion. The exact sense in which inflation variability matters for welfare, however, depends upon the details of price-setting behavior. Conditions are described under which optimal policy involves complete stabilization of the price level. This may be optimal even in the presence of 'supply shocks' of several possible sorts, and even in the presence of distortions that imply that the optimal output gap is positive (despite existence of a long-run Phillips curve). At the same time discussed why complete price-level stabilization is not optimal in more complicated (and probably more realistic) settings.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8071.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8071.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Publication status: published as Contributions to Macroeconomics (B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics), Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 1, (2002) p. 1009
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8071
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
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  5. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 2001. "Timeless Perspective Vs Discretionary Monetary Policy in Forward-Looking Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 2752, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. West, Kenneth D, 1986. "Targeting Nominal Income: A Note," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1077-83, December.
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  9. Bean, Charles R, 1983. "Targeting Nominal Income: An Appraisal," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 806-19, December.
  10. Jeffery D. Amato & Thomas Laubach, 2002. "Rule-of-thumb behaviour and monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Ireland, Peter N, 1996. "The Role of Countercyclical Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 704-23, August.
  12. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  13. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Braun, R. Anton, 1998. "Some models to guide monetary policymakers," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-42, June.
  14. Jinill Kim and Sunghyun Henry Kim, 2001. "Spurious Welfare Reversals in International Business Cycle Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 3, Society for Computational Economics.
  15. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
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  20. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216.
  22. Jón Steinsson, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Economics wp11, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
  23. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
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  25. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "The optimum quantity of money," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1067-1152 Elsevier.
  27. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert King, 1997. "The New Neoclassical Synthesis and the Role of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 231-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  30. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
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