Determinants of Relative Price Variability during a Recession: Evidence from Canada at the Time of the Great Depression
Most studies find that relative price variability (RPV) is a U-shaped or V-shaped function of anticipated inflation, and a V-shaped function of unanticipated inflation. One exception is Reinsdorf (1994), who finds that RPV in the United States during the 1980s recession was monotonically decreasing in unanticipated inflation. We suggest a reason for this difference, and test our conjecture using data from inter-war Canada. Our results indicate that in recessionary conditions a positive inflation shock does reduce RPV. However, this reduction is unlikely to correspond to higher consumer utility; this has implications for the conduct of monetary policy during a recession.
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|Date of revision:||Aug 2011|
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