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Working Papers

October 2005, No. 05-10

Avoiding the Inflation Tax

Huberto M. Ennis

(For an updated version of this working paper, see WP 07-6)

I study the effects of inflation on the purchasing behavior of buyers in an economy where money is essential for certain transactions (as in Lagos and Wright, 2005). A long-standing intuition in this subject is that when inflation increases, agents try to spend their money holdings more speedily. The standard framework fails to capture this kind of effect (Lagos and Rocheteau, 2005). I propose a simple modification of the model in which trading of goods and rebalancing of money holdings happen less frequently. In such a framework, I show that higher inflation induces buyers to search for transactions more intensively and buy goods of worse quality. The modification proposed also sheds new light on the connection between the search-theoretic and the inventory-theoretic models of money.

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