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A (not so brief ) history of inflation in Austria

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We analyze the eventful history of inflation in Austria over the past two centuries against the background of institutional, economic and political developments. Ultra-high inflation or hyperinflation resulted from repeated monetary financing of war expenses, war-related destruction of productive capacity as well as fear of short-term political and social consequences of anti-inflationary measures. Like other countries, Austria experienced the highest inflation during peaceful times in the 20th century when efforts were made to cushion the negative output effects of oil price shocks. Inflation volatility was high in the 19th century up to the Gründerzeit boom and in the 20th century during the Great Inflation; it was low in the half-century up to World War I and during the Great Moderation. Our frequency domain analysis for the pre-World War I and post-World War II periods finds that, in line with the economic literature, the correlation between money growth and inflation is considerably higher for long and very long frequencies than for business cycle frequencies. The varying correlation between money and inflation reflects changing monetary regimes. We cannot establish a stable empirical Phillips curve relationship; in the post-World War II period, the relationship breaks down once supply shocks (oil prices) are included. Deflation was quite frequent in 19th-century Austria and was not necessarily associated with recessions. By contrast, Austria’s 20th century Great Depression fits the textbook notion of deflation, high unemployment and economic slack. Formal central bank independence did not prevent the erosion of monetary value in “emergency situations” of wars. Hyperinflations and currency reforms repeatedly inflicted substantial and long-lasting damage on citizens’ trust in state money and in the state more generally.

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  • Christian Beer & Ernest Gnan & Maria Teresa Valderrama, 2016. "A (not so brief ) history of inflation in Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 6-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbmp:y:2016:i:3:b:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jobst, Clemens & Kernbauer, Hans, 2016. "The Quest for Stable Money," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9783593505350, Febrero.
    2. Clemens Jobst & Helmut Stix, 2016. "Florin, crown, schilling and euro: an overview of 200 years of cash in Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 94-119.
    3. Hans Kernbauer, 2016. "Cashless payments in Austria: the role of the central bank," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 120-139.
    4. Fritz Breuss, 1980. "Gibt es eine stabile Phillips-Kurve in Österreich?," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 53(4), pages 210-222, April.
    5. Stefan W. Schmitz, 2016. "The OeNB’s reaction to the end of the Bretton Woods system: tracing the roots of the Indicator," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 190-210.
    6. Manfred Fluch & Helmut Stix, 2005. "Perceived Inflation in Austria – Extent, Explanations, Effects," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 22-47.
    7. Heinz Handler, 2016. "Two centuries of currency policy in Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 61-76.
    8. Manfred Fluch, 2016. "The measurement of inflation in Austria: a historical overview," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 33-60.
    9. Walpurga Köhler-Töglhofer & Doris Prammer & Lukas Reiss, 2016. "The financial relations between the Nationalbank and the government," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 77-93.
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    2. Mongrain, Philippe & Nadeau, Richard & Jérôme, Bruno, 2021. "Playing the synthesizer with Canadian data: Adding polls to a structural forecasting model," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 289-301.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation; Austria;

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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