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Shoe-Leather Costs Reconsidered

Jagjit Chadha (), Andrew Haldane and Norbert G J Janssen

Economic Journal, 1998, vol. 108, issue 447, 363-82

Abstract: R. E. Lucas (1995) has recently suggested that the 'shoe-leather' costs of inflation may amount to as much as 1 percent of GNP in the United States when moving to the Friedman optimum. The authors assess his thesis using empirical evidence for the United Kingdom over the period 1870-1994. They find support for Lucas's proposition--that interest rates should be specified in logs--as a description of money demand dynamics but not as a steady-state characterization. Although Lucas's estimates can be corroborated, a semilog interest rate specification implies smaller, though still tangible, welfare gain estimates: for example, 0.22 percent of GNP in perpetuity when moving from 6 percent to 2 percent nominal interest rates.

Date: 1998
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