Thomas Carter is a Senior Economist in the Canadian Economic Analysis (CEA) Department. His research interests include monetary and financial economics. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.
In light of the financial crisis and its aftermath, several economists have argued that inflation-targeting central banks should reconsider the level of their inflation targets. While the appropriate level for the inflation target remains an open question, it’s important to note that any transition to a new target would entail certain costs.
Conventional models imply that central banks aiming to raise inflation should lower nominal rates and thus stimulate aggregate demand. However, several economists have recently challenged this conventional wisdom in favour of an alternative “neo-Fisherian’’ view under which higher nominal rates might in fact lead to higher inflation.
The long-run relation between growth and inflation has not yet been studied in the context of nominal price and wage rigidities, despite the fact that these rigidities now figure prominently in workhorse macroeconomic models.
The authors use microdata from the 1999 and 2005 Surveys of Financial Security to identify changes in household debt, and discuss their potential implications for monetary policy and financial stability. They document an increase in the debt-income ratio, which rose from 0.75 to 0.95, on average.