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Price trends over the product life cycle and the optimal inflation target

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  • Adam, Klaus
  • Weber, Henning

Abstract

We document a new stylized fact for the life-cycle behavior of consumer prices: relative to a narrowly defined set of competing products, the price of individual products tends to fall over the product lifetime. This holds true for more than 90% of the expenditure items underlying the U.K. consumer price index and has important normative implications. Constructing a sticky price model featuring a product life cycle and rich amounts of heterogeneity, we explain how the optimal in ation target can be estimated from the observed trends in relative prices. The optimal inflation target for the U.K. is found to range between 2.6% and 3.2% and to have steadily increased over the period 1996 to 2016. We show how changes in relative price trends contributed to this development.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam, Klaus & Weber, Henning, 2019. "Price trends over the product life cycle and the optimal inflation target," Discussion Papers 32/2019, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdps:322019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Melser & Iqbal A. Syed, 2016. "Life Cycle Price Trends and Product Replacement: Implications for the Measurement of Inflation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 509-533, September.
    2. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2012. "Labor-Market Frictions and Optimal Inflation," Working Paper Series 259, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    3. Pasten, Ernesto & Schoenle, Raphael & Weber, Michael, 2020. "The propagation of monetary policy shocks in a heterogeneous production economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 1-22.
    4. Bilbiie, Florin O. & Fujiwara, Ippei & Ghironi, Fabio, 2014. "Optimal monetary policy with endogenous entry and product variety," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    5. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-583, June.
    6. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andres Blanco & Mina Kim & Edward S. Knotek & Matthias Paustian & Robert W. Rich & Jane Ryngaert & Raphael Schoenle & Joris Tielens & Michael Weber & Mirko Wiederholt & Tony Zhang, 2019. "Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2019 Conference Summary," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2019(22), pages 1-6, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Inflation Rate; Product Life Cycle; U.K. Micro Price Data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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