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Inflation and Relative Price Variability in a Low Inflation Country: Empirical Evidence for Germany

Dieter Nautz () and Juliane Scharff

German Economic Review, 2005, vol. 6, issue 4, 507-523

Abstract: The recent literature on the welfare cost of inflation emphasizes inflation's effect on the variability of relative prices. Expected and unexpected inflation have both been proposed to increase relative price variability (RPV) and, thereby, to distort the information content of nominal prices. This paper presents new evidence on the impact of inflation on RPV in Germany. Our results indicate that the influence of expected inflation disappears if a credible monetary policy stabilizes inflationary expectations on a low level. Yet the significant impact of unexpected inflation suggests that even low inflation rates can lead to welfare losses by raising RPV above its efficient level. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005.

Date: 2005
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German Economic Review is currently edited by Bernhard Felderer, Joseph F. Francois, Ivo Welch, Urs Schweizer and David E. Wildasin

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