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Limited Commitment, Endogenous Credibility and the Challenges of Price-level Targeting

Staff Working Paper 2018-61 Gino Cateau, Malik Shukayev
This paper studies the cost of limited commitment when a central bank has the discretion to adjust policy whenever the costs of honoring its past commitments become high. Specifically, we consider a central bank that seeks to implement optimal policy in a New Keynesian model by committing to a price-level target path.

Credibility, Flexibility and Renewal: The Evolution of Inflation Targeting in Canada

Staff Discussion Paper 2018-18 Thomas J. Carter, Rhys R. Mendes, Lawrence L. Schembri
In 1991, Canada became the second country to adopt an inflation target as a central pillar of its monetary policy framework. The regime has proven much more successful than initially expected, both in achieving price stability and in stabilizing the real economy against a wide range of shocks.

Evaluating the Bank of Canada Staff Economic Projections Using a New Database of Real-Time Data and Forecasts

We present a novel database of real-time data and forecasts from the Bank of Canada’s staff economic projections. We then provide a forecast evaluation for GDP growth and CPI inflation since 1982: we compare the staff forecasts with those from commonly used time-series models estimated with real-time data and with forecasts from other professional forecasters and provide standard bias tests.

Introducing a Systematic Measure of Idiosyncratic Prices

Staff Analytical Note 2018-33 Madigan Dockrill, Laurence Savoie-Chabot
There is a risk that Bank of Canada staff may inadvertently be biased when analyzing inflation: when inflation surprises on the downside, staff might emphasize negative idiosyncratic factors. When inflation surprises on the upside, staff might emphasize the positive idiosyncratic factors.

Price Selection

Staff Working Paper 2018-44 Carlos Carvalho, Oleksiy Kryvtsov
We propose a simple, model-free way to measure selection in price setting and its contribution to inflation dynamics. The proposed measure of price selection is based on the observed comovement between inflation and the average level from which adjusting prices depart.

The Welfare Cost of Inflation Revisited: The Role of Financial Innovation and Household Heterogeneity

We document that, across households, the money consumption ratio increases with age and decreases with consumption, and that there has been a large increase in the money consumption ratio during the recent era of very low interest rates. We construct an overlapping generations (OLG) model of money holdings for transaction purposes subject to age (older households use more money), cohort (younger generations are exposed to better transaction technology), and time effects (nominal interest rates affect money holdings).
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Inflation: costs and benefits JEL Code(s): E, E2, E21, E4, E41

Sluggish Forecasts

Staff Working Paper 2018-39 Monica Jain
Given the influence that agents’ expectations have on key macroeconomic variables, it is surprising that very few papers have tried to extrapolate agents’ “true” expectations directly from the data. This paper presents one such approach, starting with the hypothesis that there is sluggishness in inflation and real GDP growth forecasts.

On the Evolution of the United Kingdom Price Distributions

We propose a functional principal components method that accounts for stratified random sample weighting and time dependence in the observations to understand the evolution of distributions of monthly micro-level consumer prices for the United Kingdom (UK).

Bending the Curves: Wages and Inflation

As economic slack continues to be absorbed and the labour market tightens, wage growth and inflation could increase faster than expected, which would suggest convexity in their Phillips curves. This note investigates whether there is convexity in the Phillips curves for Canadian wage growth and inflation by testing different empirical approaches over the post-inflation-targeting period.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff analytical notes Topic(s): Inflation and prices, Labour markets JEL Code(s): E, E2, E24, E3, E31, J, J3

Could a Higher Inflation Target Enhance Macroeconomic Stability?

Recent international experience with the effective lower bound on nominal interest rates has rekindled interest in the benefits of inflation targets above 2 per cent. We evaluate whether an increase in the inflation target to 3 or 4 per cent could improve macroeconomic stability in the Canadian economy.
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