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Working Paper

Output-Inflation Trade-offs and the Optimal Inflation Rate

In staggered price models, a non-CES aggregator of differentiated goods generates empirically plausible short- and long-run trade-offs between output and inflation: lower trend inflation flattens the Phillips curve and decreases steady-state output by increasing markups. We show that the aggregator reduces both the steady-state welfare cost of higher trend inflation and the inflation-related weight in a model-based welfare function for higher trend inflation. Consequently, optimal trend inflation is moderately positive even without considering the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates. Moreover, the welfare difference between 2 percent and 4 percent inflation targets is much smaller than in the CES aggregator case.

Suggested Citation

Kurozumi, Takushi, and Willem Van Zandweghe. 2020. “Output-Inflation Trade-offs and the Optimal Inflation Rate.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 20-20.