IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?

  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

    (UC Berkeley)

  • Johannes Wieland

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Olivier Coibion

    (College of William and Mary)

We study the effects of positive steady-state inflation in New Keynesian models subject to the zero bound on interest rates. We derive the utility-based welfare loss function taking into account the effects of positive steady-state inflation and solve for the optimal level of inflation in the model. For plausible calibrations with costly but infrequent episodes at the zero-lower bound, the optimal inflation rate is low, typically less than two percent, even after considering a variety of extensions, including optimal stabilization policy, price indexation, endogenous and state- dependent price stickiness, capital formation, model-uncertainty, and downward nominal wage rigidities. On the normative side, price level targeting delivers large welfare gains and a very low optimal inflation rate consistent with price stability. These results suggest that raising the inflation target is too blunt an instrument to efficiently reduce the severe costs of zero-bound episodes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 70.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:70
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Michael Kiley, 2004. "Is Moderate-To-High Inflation Inherently Unstable?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 193, Econometric Society.
  2. V. Bhaskar, 1998. "On Endogenously Staggered Prices," Macroeconomics 9809007, EconWPA.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2010. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper 2010-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Kim, Jinill & Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2007. "How Much Inflation is Necessary to Grease the Wheels?," Cahiers de recherche 2007-10, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  5. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  6. S. Boragan Aruoba & Frank Schorfheide, 2011. "Sticky Prices versus Monetary Frictions: An Estimation of Policy Trade-Offs," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 60-90, January.
  7. Athanasios Orphanides, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Macroeconomics 0402020, EconWPA.
  9. Guido Ascari & Tiziano Ropele, 2005. "Trend Inflation, Taylor Principle and Indeterminacy," Working Papers 93, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  10. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation, and the Great Moderation: An Alternative Interpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 341-70, February.
  11. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie Ward, 2007. "How wages change: micro evidence from the international wage flexibility project," Staff Reports 275, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John C. Williams & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy under uncertainty in micro-founded macroeconometric models," Working Paper Series 2005-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Marc Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2012. "Optimal target criteria for stabilization policy," Staff Reports 535, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Monetary Policy When Potential Output is Uncertain: Understanding the Growth Gamble of the 1990s," NBER Working Papers 12268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David Romer, 1989. "Staggered Price Setting with Endogenous Frequency of Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 3134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2008. "Trend Inflation, Indexation, and Inflation Persistence in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2101-26, December.
  18. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 564, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Panel discussion: price stability ; How should long-term monetary policy be determined?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 625-631.
  20. Lubik, Thomas A. & Schorfheide, Frank, 2003. "Computing sunspot equilibria in linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 273-285, November.
  21. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing and the General Equilibrium Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690.
  22. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  23. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Ng, Serena, 2010. "Estimation of DSGE models when the data are persistent," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 325-340, April.
  24. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Optimal Inflation for the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-52, July.
  25. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  26. Burnside, Craig, 1996. "Production function regressions, returns to scale, and externalities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 177-201, April.
  27. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:70. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.