Inflation Persistence and Tax-Push Inflation in Germany and in the Euro Area: A Symptom of Macroeconomic Mismanagement?
This study challenges the widely held view that the persistence in Euro area inflation above two percent, which has been observed in the euro area since 2001 despite the economic slump, may have been foremost a reflection of “structural rigidities” in labour and product markets. Accordingly, structural reforms that eliminate these rigidities are presented as necessary and sufficient conditions for boosting growth and purging inflation persistence. This view misses the fact that series of hikes in indirect taxes and administered prices contributed significantly to price increases in the euro area. Governments’ consolidation efforts in view of stagnation-induced budgetary pressures thus caused “tax-push inflation”, i.e. a persistent and sizeable upward distortion in headline inflation. Since inflation above two percent has, in turn, forestalled more growth-supportive monetary policies, the euro area has become stuck in a vicious circle of protracted domestic demand stagnation and budgetary pressures that continue to nurture tax push.
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