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The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko and Johannes Wieland ()

No 91, Working Papers from Department of Economics, College of William and Mary

Abstract: 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 show that steady-state inflation affects welfare through three distinct channels: steady-state effects, the magnitude of the coefficients in the utility-function approximation, and the dynamics of the model. We solve for the optimal level of inflation in the model and find that, for plausible calibrations, the optimal inflation rate is low, less than two percent, even after considering a variety of extensions, including price indexation, endogenous 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.

Keywords: Optimal inflation; New Keynesian; zero bound; price level targeting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E3 E4 E5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 66 pages
Date: 2010-06-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cba, nep-mac and nep-mon
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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