Innocent Bystanders? Monetary policy and inequality

Olivier Coibion*, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Lorenz Kueng, John Silvia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


We study the effects of monetary policy shocks on—and their historical contribution to—consumption and income inequality in the United States since 1980 as measured by the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Contractionary monetary policy systematically increases inequality in labor earnings, total income, consumption and total expenditures. Furthermore, monetary policy shocks account for a non-trivial component of the historical cyclical variation in income and consumption inequality. Using detailed micro-level data on income and consumption, we document some of the different channels via which monetary policy shocks affect inequality, as well as how these channels depend on the nature of the change in monetary policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-89
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Monetary Economics
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Consumption inequality
  • Income inequality
  • Monetary policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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