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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. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Speech 81, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Henry Kim, 1999. "Spurious Welfare Reversals in International Business Cycle Models," Virginia Economics Online Papers 319, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," CEPR Discussion Papers 1511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency area," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 293-320, July.
  6. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Collard, Fabrice & Dellas, Harris & Ertz, Guy, 2000. "Poole Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 2521, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2004. "Timeless perspective vs. discretionary monetary policy in forward-looking models," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 43-56.
  9. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Working Papers 6512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Poole, William, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216, May.
  11. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Steinsson, Jon, 2003. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1425-1456, October.
  13. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  14. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  15. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "Interest-Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 6618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. John C. Williams, 2003. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-12.
  17. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1998. "The new neoclassical synthesis and the role of monetary policy," Working Paper 98-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  18. 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.).
  19. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1994. "Prices, Output and Hours: An Empirical Analysis Based on a Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 4948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. Bean, Charles R, 1983. "Targeting Nominal Income: An Appraisal," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 806-19, December.
  23. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
  24. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  26. 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.
  27. West, Kenneth D, 1986. "Targeting Nominal Income: A Note," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1077-83, December.
  28. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-84, November.
  29. 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.
  30. Summers, Lawrence, 1991. "How Should Long-Term Monetary Policy Be Determined? Panel Discussion," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 625-31, August.
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