Relative price distortions and inflation persistence
Many sticky-price models suggest that relative price distortion is one of the major costs of inflation. We show that this resource misallocation is costly even at quite low rates of inflation. This is because inflation strongly affects price dispersion which in turn has an impact on the economy qualitatively similar to, and of the order of magnitude of, a negative shift in productivity. Similarly, the utility cost of price dispersion is large. We incorporate price dispersion in a linearized model. This radically affects how shocks are transmitted through the economy. Notably, a contractionary nominal shock has a persistent, negative hump-shaped impact on inflation, but may have a positive hump-shaped impact on output. Observed persistence in the policy rate is not due to the policy rule per se.
Author's pre-print draft dated November 2006 deposited in SSRN archive. Final version published by Wiley; available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/
Vol. 120, Issue 547, pp. 1080 - 1099