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Commodity Prices and Global Inflation, 1851-1913


  • Stefan Gerlach
  • Rebecca Stuart


This paper uses annual data to study the interaction of consumer and commodity prices in 15 economies over the period 1850-1913. We find that consumer price inflation in all 15 countries co-moves with a broad measure of changes in commodity prices. Consumer prices comove most strongly with changes in metal prices, in particular pig iron prices. Furthermore, changes in pig iron prices and production, which have attracted much attention in the literature on 19th century US business cycles, co-move with the international business cycle, suggesting that pig iron prices offer a transmission channel through which international business cycle movements affect inflation.

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  • Stefan Gerlach & Rebecca Stuart, 2021. "Commodity Prices and Global Inflation, 1851-1913," IRENE Working Papers 21-07, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:irn:wpaper:21-07

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    More about this item


    commodity prices; Gold standard; global inflation; pig iron;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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