How Much Inflation is Necessary to Grease the Wheels?
Series/Report no.Cahier de recherche #2007-10
This paper studies Tobin's proposition that inflation "greases" the wheels of the labor market. The analysis is carried out using a simple dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with asymmetric wage adjustment costs. Optimal inflation is determined by a benevolent government that maximizes the households' welfare. The Simulated Method of Moments is used to estimate the nonlinear model based on its second-order approximation. Econometric results indicate that nominal wages are downwardly rigid and that the optimal level of grease inflation for the U.S. economy is about 1.2 percent per year, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 0.2 to 1.6 percent.