Inflation Indicators and Inflation Policy

35 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2000 Last revised: 31 Aug 2010

See all articles by Stephen G. Cecchetti

Stephen G. Cecchetti

Brandeis International Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 1995

Abstract

In recent years, central bankers throughout the world have advocated that monetary policy shift toward inflation targeting. Recent actions in the U.S. serve to highlight the desire of the Federal Reserve to keep inflation both low and stable, while downplaying the likely output and employment consequences. But control of inflation requires both that one be able to forecast the future path of the price level and that one have estimates of what impact policy changes have on that path. Unfortunately, inflation is very difficult to forecast at even very near horizons. This is true because the relationship of candidate inflation indicators to inflation is neither very strong nor very stable. Beyond this, the relationship between monetary policy instruments, such as the Federal Funds Rate, and inflation also varies substantially over time and cannot be estimated precisely. Construction of policy rules can take these difficulties into account. Several rules are examined, and they have the following interesting properties. First, since prices take time to respond to all types of impulses, the object of price stability implies raising the Federal Funds Rate immediately following a shock, rather than waiting for prices to rise before acting. Finally, comparison of the results of price level targeting with nominal income targeting suggests that the difficulties inherent in forecasting and controlling the former provide an argument for focusing on the latter.

Suggested Citation

Cecchetti, Stephen G., Inflation Indicators and Inflation Policy (June 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5161. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225225

Stephen G. Cecchetti (Contact Author)

Brandeis International Business School ( email )

415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
212-720-8629 (Phone)
212-720-2630 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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