FRB logo

Abstract: In an abstract economic model, we study optimal monetary policy from the timeless perspective under a general state-dependent pricing framework. We find that when firms are monopolistic competitors subject to idiosyncratic menu cost shocks, households have isoelastic preferences, and there is no government spending, strict price stability is optimal both in the long run and in response to aggregate shocks. Key to this finding is an "envelope" property: At zero inflation, a marginal increase in the rate of inflation has no effect on firms' profits and therefore it has no effect on the probability of price adjustment. Our results lend support to more informal statements about the suitability of the Calvo model for studying optimal monetary policy despite its apparent conflict with the Lucas critique. We offer an analytic solution that does not require local approximation or efficiency of the steady state.

Keywords: Monetary policy, state-dependent pricing, monopolistic competition

Full paper (227 KB PDF) | Full paper (Screen Reader Version)