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Inflation and Economic Growth

  • Robert J. Barro

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

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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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. 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.
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  6. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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  13. 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.
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