NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Monetary Policy and the Well-Being of the Poor

Christina D. Romer, David H. Romer

NBER Working Paper No. 6793
Issued in November 1998
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper investigates monetary policy's influence on poverty and inequality in both the short run and the long run. We find that the short-run and long-run relationships go in opposite directions. The time-series evidence from the United States shows that a cyclical boom created by expansionary monetary policy is associated with improved conditions for the poor in the short run. The cross-section evidence from a large sample of countries, however, shows that low inflation and stable aggregate demand growth are associated with improved well-being of the poor in the long run. Both the short-run and long-run relationships are quantitatively large, statistically significant, and robust. But because the cyclical effects of monetary policy are inherently temporary, we conclude that monetary policy that aims at low inflation and stable aggregate demand is the most likely to permanently improve conditions for the poor.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6793

Published:

  • Proceedings of a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City symposium: "Income Inequality Issues and Policy Options," Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 27-29, 1998, pp. 159-201 ,
  • Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, First Quarter 1999, pp. 21-49

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