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April 9, 2009

Next Steps for Canadian Monetary Policy

In 2006, the Bank initiated a research program exploring two alternatives to the current inflation-targeting framework: (i) lowering the inflation target and (ii) shifting to a price-level target. This article discusses progress to date, places the Bank's findings in the context of a broader literature, and identifies avenues for future research.
April 8, 2009

Price-Level Targeting and Stabilization Policy: A Review

This article reviews arguments in the literature for and against price-level targeting, focusing on its costs and benefits compared with inflation targeting. Benefits of price-level targeting include the effect on forward-looking inflation expectations; the ability to substitute for commitment by a central bank to its future policies; lessening forecast errors; better economic performance in response to real shocks because of lower wage indexation; and a reduction in the problem of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates.
April 7, 2009

Price-Level Uncertainty, Price-Level Targeting, and Nominal Debt Contracts

Many central banks around the world have embraced inflation targeting as a monetary policy framework. Interest is growing, however, in price-level targeting as an alternative. The choice of frameworks has important consequences for financial contracts, most of which are not fully indexed to the price level. Changes in the price level therefore lead to changes in the real value of contracts.
April 5, 2009

Unexpected Inflation and Redistribution of Wealth in Canada

One of the most important arguments in favour of price stability is that unexpected inflation generates changes in the distribution of income and wealth among different economic agents. These redistributions occur because many loans are specified in fixed dollar terms and unexpected inflation redistributes wealth from creditors to debtors by reducing the real value of nominal assets and liabilities.

Aggregate and Welfare Effects of Redistribution of Wealth Under Inflation and Price-Level Targeting

Staff Working Paper 2008-31 Césaire Meh, José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, Yaz Terajima
Since the work of Doepke and Schneider (2006a) and Meh and Terajima (2008), we know that inflation causes major redistribution of wealth – between households and the government, between nationals and foreigners, and between households within the same country.

The Welfare Implications of Fiscal Dominance

Staff Working Paper 2008-28 Carlos De Resende, Nooman Rebei
This paper studies the interdependence between fiscal and monetary policy in a DSGE model with sticky prices and non-zero trend inflation. We characterize the fiscal and monetary policies by a rule whereby a given fraction k of the government debt must be backed by the discounted value of current and future primary surpluses.

Inflation, Nominal Portfolios, and Wealth Redistribution in Canada

Staff Working Paper 2008-19 Césaire Meh, Yaz Terajima
There is currently a policy debate on potential refinements to monetary policy regimes in countries with low and stable inflation such as the U.S. and Canada. For example, in Canada, a systematic review of the current inflation targeting framework is underway.

Uncertainty, Inflation, and Welfare

Staff Working Paper 2008-13 Jonathan Chiu, Miguel Molico
This paper studies the welfare costs and the redistributive effects of inflation in the presence of idiosyncratic liquidity risk, in a micro-founded search-theoretical monetary model. We calibrate the model to match the empirical aggregate money demand and the distribution of money holdings across households, and study the effects of inflation under the implied degree of market incompleteness.

Inflation Targeting and Price-Level-Path Targeting in the GEM: Some Open Economy Considerations

Staff Working Paper 2008-6 Donald Coletti, René Lalonde, Dirk Muir
This paper compares the performance of simple inflation targeting (IT) and price-level path targeting (PLPT) rules to stabilize the macroeconomy, in response to a series of shocks, similar to those seen in Canada and the United States over the 1983 to 2004 period.
December 14, 2007

The Costs of Inflation in New Keynesian Models

Ambler describes three new channels through which inflation affects economic welfare in New Keynesian models. These channels were absent from traditional analyses and may have caused researchers to underestimate the costs associated with variable inflation, even at relatively low levels of inflation. The article concludes with a preliminary assessment of the quantitative importance of the new channels and their significance for monetary policy.
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