Budget deficits and inflation feedback
This paper reinterprets the mixed evidence of the relationship between budget deficits and inflation in high inflation economies. The main finding is that recurrent outbursts of extreme inflation in these economies can be explained by a certain hysteresis effect associated with public finance. This interpretation meets the evidence that dramatic shifts between regimes of moderately high and extremely high (hyper-) inflation often occur without visible deterioration in public finance or abrupt shifts in fiscal or monetary policies. The existence of this hysteresis effect is explicitly explained by the action of two mechanisms: the arithmetic associated with the wrong side of the inflation tax Laffer curve and the Patinkin effect (the reverse of the much oftener cited Olivera-Tanzi effect). It is also shown that the division of the operational budget deficit into the part that is subject to negative inflation feedback and the part that is inflation-proof has implications for both the discussion of the inflationary consequences of budget deficits and the design of stabilization policy.
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