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July/August 1999, 
Vol. 81, No. 4
Posted 1999-07-01

Price-Level Uncertainty and Inflation Targeting

by Robert Dittmar, William T. Gavin, and Finn E. Kydland

The authors make two points about commonly proposed rules for inflation targeting. First, they argue that there is a great deal of uncertainty about the price level and inflation inherent in current proposals to target inflation. They show that the degree to which the central bank cares about the real economy can have a large impact on price level (and inflation) uncertainty. They find that the magnitudes of uncertainty that prevailed across the G-10 countries throughout the last four decades are the expected consequence of commonly proposed inflation-targeting regimes. Second, they show that if central banks want both to stabilize business-cycle fluctuations and to achieve price stability, then it may be useful to adopt a long-term objective for the price level.