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The conquest of South American inflation

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  • Thomas Sargent
  • Noah Williams
  • Tao Zha

Abstract

We infer determinants of Latin American hyperinflations and stabilizations by using the method of maximum likelihood to estimate a hidden Markov model that potentially assigns roles both to fundamentals in the form of government deficits that are financed by money creation and to destabilizing expectations dynamics that can occasionally divorce inflation from fundamentals. Our maximum likelihood estimates allow us to interpret observed inflation rates in terms of variations in the deficits, sequences of shocks that trigger temporary episodes of expectations driven hyperinflations, and occasional superficial reforms that cut inflation without reforming deficits. Our estimates also allow us to infer the deficit adjustments that seem to have permanently stabilized inflation processes. Our results show how the available inflation, deficit, and other macroeconomic data had left informed economists like Rudiger Dornbusch and Stanley Fischer undecided about the ultimate sources of inflation dynamics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2006-20.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2006-20

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  1. William Poole, 2002. "Flation," Speech 49, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Martin Ellison & Liam Graham & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Strong Contagion with Weak Spillovers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 263-283, April.
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  8. Marcet, Albert & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  10. James D. Hamilton & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2004. "Normalization in econometrics," Working Paper 2004-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  11. Thomas J. Sargent & Noah Williams, 2003. "Impacts of priors on convergence and escapes from Nash inflation," Working Paper 2003-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  12. Kenneth Kasa, 2004. "Learning, Large Deviations, And Recurrent Currency Crises," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 141-173, 02.
  13. Thomas J. Sargent, 1980. "Interpreting economic time series," Staff Report 58, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
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  16. Cho, In-Koo & Sargent, Thomas J., 2000. "Escaping Nash inflation," Working Paper Series 0023, European Central Bank.
  17. Adam, Klaus & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2006. "Are hyperinflation paths learnable?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2725-2748, December.
  18. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 1993. "Testing for sunspot equilibria in the German hyperinflation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 289-317.
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