Optimal Inflation Persistence: Ramsey Taxation with Capital and Habits
Journal of Monetary Economics, 2007. Vol. 54, p. 1809-1836.
Ramsey models of fiscal and monetary policy featuring time-separable preferences and a fixed supply of capital predict highly volatile inflation with no serial correlation. In this paper, we show that an otherwise-standard Ramsey model that incorporates capital accumulation and habit persistence predicts highly persistent inflation. The result depends on increases in either the ability to smooth consumption or the preference for doing so. The effect operates through the Fisher relationship: a smoother profile of consumption implies a more persistent real interest rate, which in turn implies persistent optimal inflation. Our work complements a recent strand of the Ramsey literature based on models with nominal rigidities. In these latter models, inflation volatility is lower than in the baseline model but continues to exhibit little persistence. We quantify the effects of habit and capital on inflation persistence and also relate our findings to recent work on optimal fiscal policy with incomplete markets.
PDF file, May 2006 version