The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines whether price controls may enhance the credibility of a disinflation program, using a framework in which agents behave strategically. The analysis indicates that a partial price freeze is not fully credible, and may result in inflation inertia. The authorities may be able to determine optimally the intensity of price controls so as to minimize the policy loss associated with a discretionary monetary strategy. But the optimal intensity of controls is shown to be significantly different from zero only if the cost of enforcing price ceilings is not too high, or if the weight attached to price distortions in the policymaker’s loss function is small.