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 develops a theory of inflation inertia based on forward looking staggered price setting in the nontradable goods sector of a small open economy. Unlike current theories of sticky prices, transitions to a lower steady state inflation rate take time even if they are fully credible, and they are associated with significant output losses in nontradables There is a welfare trade-off between these output losses and the gains from smaller inflationary distortions. Gains exceed losses for most calibrations. The optimal steady state is the Friedman rule.