December 2018

The Optimal Inflation Rate with Discount Factor Heterogeneity

Antoine Lepetit


This paper shows that deviations from long-run price stability are optimal in the presence of price stickiness whenever profit and utility flows are discounted at a different rate. In that case, a monetary authority acting under commitment will choose a path for the inflation rate that ends with a non-zero value. Such a property is relevant in a wide range of macroeconomic environments. I first illustrate this by studying optimal monetary policy in a New Keynesian model with a perpetual youth structure. In this setting, profit flows are discounted more heavily than utility flows and the optimal inflation target is equal to 3.2 percent in a baseline calibration of the model. I also show that this property leads to a positive long-run inflation rate in models with firm entry and exit and in environments with search and matching frictions in the labor market and another form of nominal rigidity, wage stickiness.
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Keywords: discount factor heterogeneity, inflation target, optimal inflation rate, optimal monetary policy, perpetual youth, sticky prices


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Last Update: January 09, 2020