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What is the Optimal Inflation Rate? A Reprint from the “Economic Review”
Robert M. Billi (au); George A. Kahn (au)
With inflation in the U.S. and elsewhere low by historical standards, the question of what inflation rate to aim for has moved front and center. Most policymakers agree they should not allow inflation to fall below zero because the costs of deflation are high. They disagree, however, about how much above zero, if any, central banks should aim to keep inflation. Unfortunately, rigorous estimates of an “optimal inflation rate” have not been available in the economics literature. The authors provide estimates of the optimal inflation rate. They estimate this rate to be 0.7% to 1.4% per year. This estimate is the first to be based on an economic model in which policymakers are assumed explicitly to maximize the economic well-being of the public. Illus.
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