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Author:Billi, Roberto M. 

Working Paper
Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals

We study interactions between monetary policy, which sets nominal interest rates, and fiscal policy, which levies distortionary income taxes to finance public goods, in a standard, sticky-price economy with monopolistic competition. Policymakers? inability to commit in advance to future policies gives rise to excessive inflation and excessive public spending, resulting in welfare losses equivalent to several percent of consumption each period. We show how appointing a conservative monetary authority, which dislikes inflation more than society does, can considerably reduce these welfare losses ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 10-10

Journal Article
What is the optimal inflation rate?

With inflation in the United States and elsewhere low by historical standards, the question of what inflation rate policymakers should aim for has moved front and center. Knowing what inflation rate to aim for is critically important for maximizing the economic well-being of the public. ; Most policymakers agree they should not allow inflation to fall below zero because the costs of deflation are thought to be 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 ...
Economic Review , Volume 93 , Issue Q II , Pages 5-28

Journal Article
Was monetary policy optimal during past deflation scares?

Countries around the world have fallen into one of the deepest recessions since the Great Depression?a recession exacerbated by a severe financial crisis. Among the challenges that face monetary policymakers in such uncertain times is the danger that economies worldwide, including the United States, Japan, and the Euro Area, may enter a period of deflation, in which the prices of goods and services fall relentlessly. ; Policymakers and economists agree that sustained deflation would likely worsen the already fragile economic and financial environment. Past episodes of deflation in the wake of ...
Economic Review , Volume 94 , Issue Q III , Pages 67-98

Journal Article
Output gaps and monetary policy at low interest rates

Policymakers use various indicators of economic activity to assess economic conditions and set an appropriate stance for monetary policy. A key challenge for policymakers is finding indicators that give a clear and accurate signal of the state of the economy in real time?that is, at the time policy is actually made. Unfortunately, most indicators are initially estimated based on incomplete information and subsequently revised as more information becomes available. Moreover, some indicators are based on economic concepts that are not directly observable. ; Two indicators of economic activity ...
Economic Review , Volume 96 , Issue Q I

Working Paper
Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates

Ignoring the existence of the zero bound on nominal interest rates one considerably understates the value of monetary commitment in New Keynesian models. A stochastic forward-looking model with an occasionally binding lower bound, calibrated to the U.S. economy, suggests that low values for the natural rate of interest lead to sizeable output losses and deflation under discretionary monetary policy. The fall in output and deflation are much larger than in the case with policy commitment and do not show up at all if the model abstracts from the existence of the lower bound. The welfare losses ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 05-08

Working Paper
Monetary conservatism and fiscal policy

Does an inflation conservative central bank la Rogoff (1985) remain desirable in a setting with endogenous fiscal policy? To provide an answer we study monetary and fiscal policy games without commitment in a dynamic stochastic sticky price economy with monopolistic distortions. Monetary policy determines nominal interest rates and fiscal policy provides public goods generating private utility. We find that lack of fiscal commitment gives rise to excessive public spending. The optimal inflation rate internalizing this distortion is positive, but lack of monetary commitment robustly generates ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 07-01

Working Paper
Price-level targeting and risk management in a low-inflation economy

With inflation and policy interest rates at historically low levels, policymakers show great concern about "downside tail risks" due to a zero lower bound on nominal interest rates. Low probability or tail events, such as sustained deflation or recession, are disruptive for the economy and can be difficult to resolve. This paper shows that price-level targeting mitigates downside tail risks respect to inflation targeting when policy is conducted through a simple interest-rate rule subject to a zero lower bound. Thus, price-level targeting is a more effective policy framework than inflation ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 08-09

Working Paper
Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates

We determine optimal monetary policy under commitment in a forward-looking New Keynesian model when nominal interest rates are bounded below by zero. The lower bound represents an occasionally binding constraint that causes the model and optimal policy to be nonlinear. A calibration to the U.S. economy suggests that policy should reduce nominal interest rates more aggressively than suggested by a model without lower bound. Rational agents anticipate the possibility of reaching the lower bound in the future and this amplifies the effects of adverse shocks well before the bound is reached. ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 05-07

Working Paper
Optimal inflation for the U.S.

What is the correctly measured inflation rate that monetary policy should aim for in the long-run? This paper characterizes the optimal inflation rate for the U.S. economy in a New Keynesian sticky-price model with an occasionally binding zero lower bound on the nominal interest rate. Real-rate and mark-up shocks jointly determine the optimal inflation rate to be positive but not large. Even allowing for the possibility of extreme model misspecification, the optimal inflation rate is robustly below 1 percent. The welfare costs of optimal inflation and the lower bound are limited.>
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 07-03



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Monetary policy 3 items

Inflation (Finance) 2 items

Interest rates 2 items

Liquidity (Economics) 2 items

Fiscal policy 1 items

Keynesian economics 1 items

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