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.
We add downward nominal wage rigidity to a standard New Keynesian model with sticky prices and wages, where the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is allowed to bind. We find that wage rigidity not only reduces the frequency of zero bound episodes but also mitigates the severity of corresponding recessions.
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 article examines the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity in Canada and its implications for monetary policy. The authors ask whether its existence is a sufficient argument for a higher inflation target if concerns about the effective lower bound are adequately addressed.