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Response to a Defense of Zero Inflation

Quarterly Review 1523 | Spring 1991

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Response to a Defense of Zero Inflation


This essay distills the differences between zero inflation proponents and critics to three main questions: Can the central bank make a credible commitment to maintaining a stable price level? Should monetary policy be used to reduce the tax on capital income? And would reducing uncertainty about inflation produce significant social benefits? Proponents of zero inflation answer all three questions yes, while critics answer no. The essay reviews both answers for each question and suggests that the disagreements are at least partly due to inadequacies in economic models. The essay repeats the author's view, argued in an earlier study, that when other policy options are considered, the overall benefits of a zero inflation policy shrink close to zero, and may even become negative.