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Optimal Inflation Target: Insights from an Agent-Based Model

Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Stanislao Gualdi, Marco Tarzia, Francesco Zamponi

posted on 08 November 2017

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Which level of inflation should Central Banks be targeting? We investigate this issue in the context of a simplified Agent Based Model of the economy. Depending on the value of the parameters that describe the micro-behaviour of agents (in particular inflation anticipations), we find a surprisingly rich variety of behaviour at the macro-level. Without any monetary policy, our ABM economy can be in a high inflation/high output state, or in a low inflation/low output state. Hyper-inflation, stagflation, deflation and business cycles are also possible. We then introduce a Central Bank with a Taylor-rule-based inflation target, and study the resulting aggregate variables. Our main result is that too low inflation targets are in general detrimental to a CB-controlled economy. One symptom is a persistent under-realisation of inflation, perhaps similar to the current macroeconomic situation. This predicament is alleviated by higher inflation targets that are found to improve both unemployment and negative interest rate episodes, up to the point where erosion of savings becomes unacceptable. Our results are contrasted with the predictions of the standard DSGE model.