Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy

28 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2007 Last revised: 15 Jul 2010

See all articles by Torsten Persson

Torsten Persson

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Sweder van Wijnbergen

Universiteit van Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 1989

Abstract

Wage and price controls have a long and somewhat disreputable history, presumably because of their frequent use in many countries as short run substitutes for measure~ with more lasting effects on the inflation rate. But, in 1985 and 1986, Argentina, Brazil, and Israel used extensive wage-price controls as part of more comprehensive disinflation programs, .often labeled "heterodox" stabilization programs. To date, the Israeli stabilization seems to have succeeded, while the Argentinean and Brazilian stabi1izations have clearly ended in failure. This experience raises many questions. One view is that controlling one nominal variable, namely the money supply, is enough to bring down inflation provided that sound fiscal policies are also adopted. Therefore, wage and price controls should be avoided, because of their microeconomic costs. It is clear that controls do have microeconomic costs, but can they also have macroeconomic benefits? Under which circumstances do controls help in bringing down inflation, and when do they just suppress it temporarily? What is the required supporting role of fiscal and monetary policy while they are in place? These are the issues addressed in this paper.

Suggested Citation

Persson, Torsten and van Wijnbergen, Sweder, Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy (April 1989). NBER Working Paper No. w2939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=461378

Torsten Persson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden
+46 8 163066 (Phone)
+46 8 164177 (Fax)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Sweder Van Wijnbergen

Universiteit van Amsterdam ( email )

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Netherlands
+31 20 525 4011 / 4203 (Phone)
+31-35-624 91 82 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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