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Inflation and Economic Growth

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  • Robert J. Barro

    (Department of Economics, Littauer Center 120, Harvard University
    NBER)

Abstract

Data for around 100 countries from 1960 to 1990 are used to assess the effects of inflation on economic performance. If a number of country characteristics are held constant, then regression results indicate that the impact effects from an increase in average inflation by 10 percentage points per year are a reduction of the growth rate of real per capita GOP by 0.2-0.3 percentage points per year and a decrease in the ratio of investment to GOP by 0.4-0.6 percentage points. Since the statistical procedures use plausible instruments for inflation, there is some reason to believe that these relations reflect causal influences from inflation to growth and investment. However, statistically significant results emerge only when high-inflation experiences are included in the sample. Although the adverse influence of inflation on growth looks small, the long-term effects on standards of living are substantial. For example, a shift in monetary policy that raises the long-term average inflation rate by 10 percentage points per year is estimated to lower the level of real GOP after 30 years by 4-7%, more than enough to justify a strong interest in price stability.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 14 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 121-144

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2013:v:14:i:1:n:6:barro

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  1. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
  2. Cukierman, Alex & Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Summers, Lawrence H. & Webb, Steven B., 1993. "Central bank independence, growth, investment, and real rates," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 95-140, December.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Inflation and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  6. Schwartz, Anna J., 1993. "Currency boards: their past, present, and possible future role," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 147-187, December.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  8. Grier, Kevin B. & Tullock, Gordon, 1989. "An empirical analysis of cross-national economic growth, 1951-1980," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 259-276, September.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  10. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, December.
  11. Logue, Dennis E & Willett, Thomas D, 1976. "A Note on the Relation between the Rate and Variability of Inflation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(17), pages 151-58, May.
  12. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  13. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  14. James M. Boughton, 1991. "The CFA Franc Zone," IMF Working Papers 91/133, International Monetary Fund.
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