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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Optimal Inflation in an Open Economy with Imperfect Competition
David M. Arseneau

Abstract: This paper uses a two-country, monetary general equilibrium model with imperfect competition to study the optimal rate of inflation in an open economy. In contrast with the closed economy literature, when policy is set non-cooperatively in the open economy, the optimality of the Friedman rule is not a general result. Monetary authorities face an incentive to use the inflation tax to gain a "beggar-thy-neighbor" advantage over the terms of trade. Strategic use of the inflation tax, however, results in coordination failure. International monetary cooperation helps to mitigate this coordination failure and, as a result, can lead to more efficient equilibria. Monetary union ensures the maximum gain from cooperation by restoring the optimality of the global Friedman rule, placing the world economy at the Pareto frontier.

Keywords: Optimal monetary policy, Friedman rule, international monetary policy coordination

Full paper (999 KB PDF)

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Last update: June 1, 2004