Bank of Lithuania

More Gray, More Volatile? Aging and (Optimal) Monetary Policy


The empirical and theoretical evidence on the inflation impact of population aging is mixed, and there is no evidence regarding the volatility of inflation. Based on advanced economies’ data and a DSGE-OLG model - a multi-period general equilibrium framework with overlapping generations, - we find that aging leads to downward pressure on inflation and higher inflation volatility. Our paper is also the first to discuss, using this framework, how aging affects the short-term cyclical behavior of the economy and the transmission channels of monetary policy. Further, we are also the first to examine the interplay between aging and optimal central bank policies. As aging redistributes wealth among generations, generations behave differently, and the labor force becomes more scarce with aging, our model suggests that aging makes monetary policy less effective, and aggregate demand less elastic to changes in the interest rate. Moreover, in more gray societies central banks should react more strongly to nominal variables, and in a very old society the nominal GDP targeting rule might become the most effective monetary policy rule to compensate for higher inflation volatility. 

JEL Codes: E31, E52, J11.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

aging, monetary policy transmission, optimal monetary policy, inflation targeting