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Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies

  • Laurence Ball
  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Ricardo Reis

This paper is a contribution to the analysis of optimal monetary policy. It begins with a critical assessment of the existing literature, arguing that most work is based on implausible models of inflation-output dynamics. It then suggests that this problem may be solved with some recent behavioral models, which assume that price setters are slow to incorporate macroeconomic information into the prices they set. A specific such model is developed and used to derive optimal policy. In response to shocks to productivity and aggregate demand, optimal policy is price level targeting. Base drift in the price level, which is implicit in the inflation targeting regimes currently used in many central banks, is not desirable in this model. When shocks to desired markups are added, optimal policy is flexible targeting of the price level. That is, the central bank should allow the price level to deviate from its target for a while in response to these supply shocks, but it should eventually return the price level to its target path. Optimal policy can also be described as an elastic price standard: the central bank allows the price level to deviate from its target when output is expected to deviate from its natural rate.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9491.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9491.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Publication status: published as Ball, Laurence & Gregory Mankiw, N. & Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Monetary policy for inattentive economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 703-725, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9491
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Akerlof, George A., 2001. "Behavioral Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Behavior," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2001-4, Nobel Prize Committee.
  2. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-rationality and inflation in two monetary regimes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Alogoskoufis, George S & Smith, Ron, 1991. "The Phillips Curve, the Persistence of Inflation, and the Lucas Critique: Evidence from Exchange-Rate Regimes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1254-75, December.
  4. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky information versus sticky prices: a proposal to replace the New-Keynesian Phillips curve," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  6. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2002. "The 6D Bias and the Equity-Premium Puzzle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 257-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Imperfect Common Knowledge and the Effects of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jón Steinsson, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Economics wp11, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
  9. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  11. Robert E. Hall & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1993. "Nominal Income Targeting," NBER Working Papers 4439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Aoki, Kosuke, 2002. "Optimal Commitment Policy Under Noisy Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Seminar Papers 614, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  15. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
  17. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  18. Ball, Laurence, 1999. "Efficient Rules for Monetary Policy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 63-83, April.
  19. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff Between Inflation and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 7884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Monopolistic Price Adjustment and Aggregate Output," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 517-31, October.
  21. 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.
  22. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies," NBER Working Papers 9491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
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  25. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 2002. "A simple framework for international monetary policy analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 879-904, July.
  26. Robert J. Gordon, 1997. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 11-32, Winter.
  27. Vestin, David, 2000. "Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting in a Forward-looking Model," Working Paper Series 106, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  28. Robert E. Hall, 1984. "Monetary strategy with an elastic price standard," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 137-167.
  29. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  30. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  31. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  32. Ball, Laurence, 1994. "Credible Disinflation with Staggered Price-Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 282-89, March.
  33. 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.
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