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A Non-Paradoxical Interpretation of the Gibson Paradox

Staff Working Paper 1998-22 Serge Coulombe
In this study, we show how, to yield the real cost of borrowing, the price level can be combined with the nominal interest rate in a monetary regime where the level of prices is trend stationary. We show that the price level then conveys intertemporal information in a way similar to nominal interest rates. We […]
May 12, 1998

Measurement biases in the Canadian CPI: An update

The consumer price index (CPI) is used to measure changes in the price level of consumer goods and services. As an indicator of changes in the cost of living, it is susceptible to various types of measurement biases. This article provides estimates of the size of these biases in the Canadian CPI. It concludes that the rate of increase in the CPI probably overstates the rate of increase in the cost of living by about 0.5 percentage points per year.

Forecasting Inflation with the M1-VECM: Part Two

Staff Working Paper 1998-6 Walter Engert, Scott Hendry
A central bank's main concern is the general direction of future inflation, and not transitory fluctuations of the inflation rate. As a result, this paper is concerned with forecasting a simple measure of the trend of inflation, the eight-quarter CPI-inflation rate. The primary objective is to improve the M1-based vector-error-correction model (VECM) developed by Hendry […]
November 13, 1997

Statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation

As a guide for the conduct of monetary policy, most central banks make use of a trend inflation index similar to that employed by the Bank of Canada: the CPI excluding food, energy, and the effect of indirect taxes. In addition to their basic reference index, some central banks regularly publish statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation. The method used for producing these measures is, for the most part, based on the hypothesis that extreme price fluctuations generally reflect temporary shocks to the inflation rate, rather than its underlying trend. In this paper, the author offers a broad survey of studies on the measurement of trend inflation that have been published by the Bank of Canada and presents the results of the most recent work on the subject. Particular attention is paid to two statistical measures that the Bank follows more closely than other measures; namely, the CPIX, a price index that excludes eight of the most volatile CPI components, and CPIW, a measure that retains all the components of the overall index but gives a lower weighting to the most volatile.

A Measure of Underlying Inflation in the United States

Staff Working Paper 1997-20 Iris Claus
A monetary authority with the primary objective of price stability has to distinguish between temporary price shocks and persistent shocks to the rate of inflation. A measure of underlying inflation, therefore, has an important role to play as a guideline for monetary policy.

Menu Costs, Relative Prices, and Inflation: Evidence for Canada

Staff Working Paper 1997-14 Robert Amano, Tiff Macklem
The menu-cost models of price adjustment developed by Ball and Mankiw (1994;1995) predict that short-run movements in inflation should be positively related to the skewness and the variance of the distribution of disaggregated relative-price shocks in each period. We test these predictions on Canadian data using the distribution of changes in disaggregated producer prices to measure the skewness and standard deviation of relative-price shocks.
May 13, 1997

Capacity constraints, price adjustment, and monetary policy

The short-run Phillips curve describes a positive short-run relationship between the level of economic activity and inflation. When the level of demand in the economy as a whole runs ahead of the level of output that the economy can supply in the short run, price pressures increase and inflation rises. This article reviews the origins of the short-run Phillips curve with particular emphasis on the long-standing idea that the shape of this curve may be non-linear, with inflation becoming more sensitive to changes in output when the cycle of economic activity is high than when it is low. This type of non-linearity in the short-run Phillips curve, which is typically motivated by the effects of capacity constraints that limit the ability of the economy to expand in the short run, has recently attracted renewed attention. The article surveys recent research that finds some evidence of this type of non-linearity in the Phillips curve in Canada and considers the potential implications for monetary policy.
December 11, 1996

The impact of exchange rate movements on consumer prices

In the first, mostly theoretical, part of this article, the author analyses the factors that affect the pass-through of exchange rate movements to consumer prices. In the second part, she studies the recent Canadian experience in this area, starting from 1992. The analysis in the first part of the article is used to investigate why the depreciation of the Canadian dollar by almost 20 per cent between 1992 and 1994 did not produce as much of an increase in the inflation rate as predicted by conventional estimates of the exchange rate pass-through. The author first explains this phenomenon using the factors described in the theoretical part of the article: demand conditions, the costs of adjusting prices, and expectations about the depreciation's duration. She then examines the role of more specific factors, such as the abolition of customs duties on trade between Canada and the United States and the restructuring of the retail market. It is clear that the latter two factors helped neutralize the effect of the depreciation on prices.
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