The Case for Temporary Inflation in the Eurozone

18 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2012

See all articles by Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Martín Uribe

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2012

Abstract

Since the onset of the great recession in peripheral Europe, nominal hourly wages have not fallen much from the high levels they had reached during the boom years in spite of widespread increases in unemployment. This observation evokes a well-known narrative in which nominal downward wage rigidity is at the center of the current unemployment problem. We embed downward nominal wage rigidity into a small open economy with tradable and nontradable goods and a fixed exchange-rate regime. In this model, negative external shocks cause involuntary unemployment. We analyze a number of national and supranational policy options for alleviating the unemployment problem caused by the combination of downward nominal wage rigidity and a fixed exchange-rate regime. We argue that, in spite of the existence of a battery of domestic policies that could be effective in solving the unemployment problem, it is unlikely that a solution will come from within national borders. This leaves supranational monetary stimulus as the most compelling avenue out of the crisis. Our model predicts that full employment in peripheral Europe could be restored by raising the Euro-area annual rate of inflation to about 4 percent for the next five years.

Keywords: currency pegs, downward wage rigidity, inflation, monetary union

JEL Classification: E31, E62, F41

Suggested Citation

Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie and Uribe, Martin, The Case for Temporary Inflation in the Eurozone (September 2012). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9133, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2153574

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe (Contact Author)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Martin Uribe

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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