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Keeping Up with the Joneses and the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy


  • Juha Tervala

    () (Aboa Centre for Economics and University of Turku)


This paper examines the implications of "keeping up with the Joneses" preferences (jealousy) for the welfare effects of monetary policy. I develop a New Keynesian model, where households are jealous and the central bank follows the Taylor rule. I show that the welfare effects of monetary policy over time depend significantly on the relative strength of the consumption externality caused by jealousy and the monopolistic distortion. If jealousy (the monopolistic distortion) dominates, then a decrease in the interest rate reduces (increases) welfare in the short run, but increases (reduces) welfare in the medium run.

Suggested Citation

  • Juha Tervala, 2011. "Keeping Up with the Joneses and the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers 65, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tkk:dpaper:dp65

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    2. Amato, Jeffery D. & Laubach, Thomas, 2004. "Implications of habit formation for optimal monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 305-325, March.
    3. Andrew B. Abel, 2005. "Optimal Taxation when Consumers Have Endogenous Benchmark Levels of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 21-42.
    4. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
    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. Howarth, Richard B., 2006. "Optimal environmental taxes under relative consumption effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 209-219, June.
    7. Sanjay K. Chugh, 2004. "Does monetary policy keep up with the Joneses? Optimal interest-rate smoothing with consumption externalities," International Finance Discussion Papers 812, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Pierdzioch, Christian, 2003. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Implications for the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy in Open Economies," Kiel Working Papers 1166, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
    10. Pierdzioch, Christian & Yener, Serkan, 2004. "On the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy When Households Try to Keep Up with the Rest of the World," Kiel Working Papers 1198, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Klein, Paul, 2000. "Using the generalized Schur form to solve a multivariate linear rational expectations model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1405-1423, September.
    12. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
    13. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    14. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
    15. Ireland, N. J., 2001. "Optimal income tax in the presence of status effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 193-212, August.
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    More about this item


    Monetary policy; jealousy; consumption externality;

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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