The ECB'S Inflation Objective


Mads Kieler

Publication Date:

April 1, 2003

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


The ECB's objective of medium-term inflation below 2 percent has been portrayed by critics as ambiguous, asymmetric, and excessively stringent. This paper attempts a comprehensive evaluation of the trade-offs for the euro area and finds that: (1) in terms of guiding inflation expectations and policymaking, the current definition has functioned much as would an inflation target centered on 1 1/2-1 3/4 percent; (2) the absence of a specific (point) target for medium-term inflation has encumbered the communication of monetary policy; and (3) a target toward the upper end of the ECB's price-stability range would seem, at least with the current membership of EMU, to strike a judicious balance between the benefits of price stability, on the one hand, and the need to assist relative price and wage adjustment across EMU and safeguard against deflation, on the other hand.


Working Paper No. 2003/091



Publication Date:

April 1, 2003



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