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On the Sources of the Inflationary Bias

Piga, Gustavo

Why do dynamic inconsistencies in monetary policy exist? In this paper we present a traditional model with output inefficiencies, but we allow for monetary policy to be influenced by the various constituencies in the economy, that pressure the Congress to in turn pressure the central bank to adopt a particular policy stance. We show that in this economy an inflationary-bias arises due to the lobbying pressure of outsiders. Furthermore, we show that if lobbying pressures are high enough, an inflationary-bias cannot be avoided for any finite level of central bank independence. We also show that introducing the realistic feature of lobbying pressures has an impact on the stabilization properties of monetary policy. When a supply shock occurs, the shock is totally absorbed by a forward-looking trade-union which has no costs of lobbying, independently of any finite degree of conservativeness and independence of the central banker, who has to accept an extreme increase in price instability. We show that monetary policy delegation is therefore sub-optimal in achieving price-stability compared to labor-market reforms meant to remove monopolistic elements. However, the same structural policies will induce greater output instability by strengthening the power of conservative central bankers.

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Academic Units
Economics
Publisher
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Series
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 9798-12
Published Here
March 3, 2011

Notes

February 1998

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