Learning and the Welfare Implications of Changing Inflation Targets

Kevin Moran
2005 Social Science Research Network  
This paper computes the welfare consequences, for a representative agent, of a shift in the inflation target of monetary authorities. The welfare computations are conducted first by comparing the two steady states that the different inflation targets entail, and next by accounting for the transition from one steady-state to the next. Further, the paper allows this transition to be characterized by incomplete information, under which private agents learn about the inflation target shift using
more » ... rget shift using Bayesian updating. The analysis is repeated in a variety of model parameterizations, to test the robustness of the results. We find that the welfare benefits of reducing the target rate of inflation from 2% initially to 0% may at first appear to be significant. When measured by comparing steady states, these benefits are worth up to 0.5% of steady-state consumption. However, accounting for the transition towards the new, low inflation steady state significantly reduces the computed benefits, by at least one half. Abstract This paper computes the welfare consequences, for a representative agent, of a shift in the inflation target of monetary authorities. The welfare computations are conducted first by comparing the two steady states that the different inflation targets entail, and next by accounting for the transition from one steady-state to the next. Further, the paper allows this transition to be characterized by incomplete information, under which private agents learn about the inflation target shift using Bayesian updating. The analysis is repeated in a variety of model parameterizations, to test the robustness of the results. We find that the welfare benefits of reducing the target rate of inflation from 2% initially to 0% may at first appear to be significant. When measured by comparing steady states, these benefits are worth up to 0.5% of steady-state consumption. However, accounting for the transition towards the new, low inflation steady state significantly reduces the computed benefits, by at least one half.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.719748 fatcat:bx55pjd4kfc2bhbnbyvmzjilce