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Stylized Facts and Stylized Illusions: Inflation and Productivity Revisited

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  • Norman Cameron
  • Derek Hum
  • Wayne Simpson

Abstract

Recent estimates of a negative empirical relationship between inflation and the rate of growth of productivity provide a strong case for vigorous anti-inflationary policy. This paper tests the robustness of this evidence using long quarterly and annual datasets for four countries (Canada, United States, United Kingdom, West Germany). Our results from cointegration and other time series tests show no evidence for any connection between inflation and the level of productivity. We do find a strong connection between inflation and productivity growth, but it is so internally inconsistent as to be incredible. The best explanation is that it is accounted for entirely by statistical bias from attempting to cointegrate stationary and non-stationary variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Norman Cameron & Derek Hum & Wayne Simpson, 1996. "Stylized Facts and Stylized Illusions: Inflation and Productivity Revisited," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 152-162, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:29:y:1996:i:1:p:152-62
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A. B. Atkinson & N. H. Stern, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 119-128.
    2. Lloyd, P. J. & Schweinberger, A. G., 1988. "Trade expenditure functions and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3-4), pages 275-297, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vinayagathasan, Thanabalasingam, 2013. "Inflation and economic growth: A dynamic panel threshold analysis for Asian economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 31-41.
    2. Mahadevan, Renuka & Asafu-Adjaye, John, 2005. "The productivity-inflation nexus: the case of the Australian mining sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 209-224, January.
    3. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Luis A. Gil-Alana, 2007. "A Multivariate Long-Memory Model with Structural Breaks," CESifo Working Paper Series 1950, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Hondroyiannis, George & Papapetrou, Evangelia, 1998. "Temporal causality and the inflation-productivity relationship: Evidence from eight low inflation OECD countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 117-135.
    5. João R. Faria & Francisco Galrão Carneiro, 2001. "Does High Inflation Affect Growth in the Long and Short Run?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 4, pages 89-105, May.
    6. Ensar Yilmaz, 2010. "Inflation and output in the long and short run in Turkey," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 253-269, July.
    7. Donald Freeman & David Yerger, 2000. "Does inflation lower productivity? Time series evidence on the impact of inflation on labor productivity in 12 OECD nations," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 28(3), pages 315-332, September.
    8. Ragan, Christopher, 1998. "On the Believable Benefits of Low Inflation," Staff Working Papers 98-15, Bank of Canada.
    9. Noussair, Charles N. & Pfajfar, Damjan & Zsiros, Janos, 2015. "Pricing decisions in an experimental dynamic stochastic general equilibrium economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 188-202.
    10. Dimitris K. Christopoulos & Efthymios G. Tsionas, 2005. "Productivity growth and inflation in Europe: Evidence from panel cointegration tests," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 137-150, January.
    11. O'Reilly, B., 1998. "The Benefits of Low Inflation: Taking Shock "A nickel ain't worth a dime any more" [Yogi Berra]," Technical Reports 83, Bank of Canada.
    12. Madhu Sehrawat & A. K. Giri, 2015. "Re-examining the Threshold Effects in Inflation–Growth Nexus: Evidence from India," International Journal of Economics and Empirical Research (IJEER), The Economics and Social Development Organization (TESDO), vol. 3(2), pages 57-67, Fabruary.
    13. Chaido Dritsaki, 2016. "Real wages, inflation, and labor productivity: Evidences from Bulgaria and Romania," Journal of Economic and Financial Studies (JEFS), LAR Center Press, vol. 4(5), pages 24-36, October.
    14. Tim Bulman & John Simon, 2003. "Productivity and Inflation," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2003-10, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    15. Arturo Estrella, 2005. "Productivity, monetary policy and financial indicators," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Investigating the relationship between the financial and real economy, volume 22, pages 166-76 Bank for International Settlements.
    16. Saten Kumar & Don J. Webber & Geoff Perry, 2012. "Real wages, inflation and labour productivity in Australia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(23), pages 2945-2954, August.

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