This study investigates the appropriate measure of inflation in the euro area that the central bank should adopt in order to minimize social welfare losses stemming from volatility in the output gap, inflation and relative prices. We use a model that accounts for both the heterogeneity observed in the degree of price rigidity across regions and sectors, and the asymmetry of real disturbances in relative prices. Our work shows that the optimal weights to assign to each region or economic sector depend on complex interactions between the degree of price stickiness, a country’s economic size and the distribution of shocks across regions. Moreover, the optimal system of weights is primarily affected by the distribution of real shocks across countries. It follows that there is no simple rule of thumb for establishing the optimal weights for each region or economic sector.
Published in 2016 in: International Journal of Central Banking, v. 12, 2, pp. 357-383