Why price inflation in developed countries is systematically underestimated
AbstractThere is an extensive historical dataset on real GDP per capita prepared by Angus Maddison. This dataset covers the period since 1870 with continuous annual estimates in developed countries. All time series for individual economies have a clear structural break between 1940 and 1950. The behavior before 1940 and after 1950 can be accurately (R2 from 0.7 to 0.99) approximated by linear time trends. The corresponding slopes of regressions lines before and after the break differ by a factor of 4 (Switzerland) to 19 (Spain). We have extrapolated the early trends into the second interval and obtained much lower estimates of real GDP per capita in 2011: from 2.4 (Switzerland) to 5.0 (Japan) times smaller than the current levels. When the current linear trends are extrapolated into the past, they intercept the zero line between 1908 (Switzerland) and 1944 (Japan). There is likely an internal conflict between the estimating procedures before 1940 and after 1950. A reasonable explanation of the discrepancy is that the GDP deflator in developed countries has been highly underestimated since 1950. In the USA, the GDP deflator is underestimated by a factor of 1.4. This is exactly the ratio of the interest rate controlled by the Federal Reserve and the rate of inflation. Hence, the Federal Reserve actually retains its interest rate at the level of true price inflation when corrected for the bias in the GDP deflator.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39059.
Date of creation: 27 May 2012
Date of revision:
real GDP; price inflation; interest rate; central bank; developed countries;
Other versions of this item:
- Ivan Kitov, 2012. "Why price inflation in developed countries is systematically underestimated," Papers 1206.0450, arXiv.org.
- E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
- O47 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
- E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
- E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2012-06-05 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MAC-2012-06-05 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-MON-2012-06-05 (Monetary Economics)
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