Competitiveness, inflation, and monetary policy

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 31 December 2004

Working Paper No. 246
By Hashmat Khan and Richhild Moessner 

This paper examines the way in which structural changes in the level of steady-state competitiveness and the trend rate of inflation affect inflation responses to monetary policy shocks, in scenarios chosen to capture broadly the conditions of the UK economy in the early 1990s and more recently. Cyclical changes in competitiveness are also considered, since it is not clear empirically whether changes in competitiveness have been predominantly structural or cyclical. A model based on work by Woodford is used, allowing for positive trend inflation and cyclical variations in competitiveness in a tractable manner. This extension enables the separate quantification of the impact of differences in the steady-state level of and cyclical changes in competitiveness on inflation in the short term, in high and low inflation environments. The paper quantifies the extent to which procyclical (countercyclical) changes in competitiveness dampen (amplify) the impulse responses of inflation to a given monetary policy shock. In the calibration used, the inflation response to monetary policy shocks in a low inflation/high competitiveness environment is dampened compared with a high inflation/low competitiveness environment. By contrast, inflation responses to monetary policy shocks in a low inflation/low competitiveness environment are similar to those in a high inflation/high competitiveness environment.

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