Christine Lagarde and Janet Yellen Yin Bogu/ZumaPress

Repensar las metas de inflación

ZÚRICH – A lo largo de las últimas dos décadas, el uso de metas de inflación se convirtió en el marco predominante en materia de política monetaria. Fue adoptado en esencia (aunque no explícitamente) por los principales bancos centrales, entre ellos la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos, el Banco Central Europeo y el Banco Nacional de Suiza. Pero la crisis económica global de 2008, de la que el mundo aún no termina de recuperarse, generó serias dudas sobre esta metodología.

El Banco de Pagos Internacionales sostiene hace mucho que apuntar exclusivamente a metas de inflación no es compatible con la estabilidad financiera. Al no tener en cuenta el ciclo financiero, genera una política monetaria excesivamente expansiva y asimétrica. Además, uno de los argumentos principales a favor de las metas de inflación (el de que contribuyeron a bajar la inflación desde principios de los noventa) es, cuando menos, cuestionable. La desinflación en realidad comenzó a principios de los ochenta (mucho antes de la invención de la metodología de metas de inflación) gracias a los esfuerzos concertados de quien era entonces presidente de la junta de la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos, Paul Volcker. Y a partir de los noventa, es probable que la principal causa de reducción de la presión inflacionaria en todo el mundo haya sido la globalización (en particular, la integración de China a la economía mundial).

Una indicación más reciente de que la desinflación experimentada desde los noventa no es producto de las metas de inflación la hallamos en que cada vez más bancos centrales intentan reinflacionar sus economías sin lograrlo. Si los bancos centrales no pueden aumentar la inflación, parece razonable suponer que no hayan tenido que ver con su reducción.

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