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Anti-Inflation Policy Benefits the Poor: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data

  • Heinz Welsch


    (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)

  • Jan Kühling


    (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)

Using subjective well-being data for more than 91,000 individuals in 30 OECD countries, 1990-2008, we study how people’s implicit aversion towards inflation varies with income and other socio-economic characteristics. While inflation aversion decreases with income, it increases with the education level. Contrary to previous findings using statedpreferencemethods, these relationships apply not only to absolute inflation aversion, but also to the aversion towards inflation relative to unemployment. These results survive several robustness checks. The differing results concerning the roles of income and education suggest that different dimensions of being disadvantaged influence the well-being effects of inflation in different ways.

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Paper provided by University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number V-343-11.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision: Dec 2011
Publication status: Published in Oldenburg Working Papers V-343-11
Handle: RePEc:old:dpaper:343
Contact details of provider: Postal: 26111 Oldenburg
Phone: +49 441 798-4107
Fax: +49 441 798-4116
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  1. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2001. "Inflation and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 160-78, May.
  2. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well-Being," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  3. Arjun Jayadev, . "The Class Content of Preferences Towards Anti-Inflation and Anti Unemployment Policies," Working Papers 8, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
  4. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  5. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2002. "The NAIRU in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 115-136, Fall.
  6. Jayadev, Arjun, 2006. "Differing preferences between anti-inflation and anti-unemployment policy among the rich and the poor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 67-71, April.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Justina AV Fischer, 2010. "Accounting for Unobserved Country Heterogeneity in Happiness Research: Country Fixed Effects versus Region Fixed Effects," CEIS Research Paper 164, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 28 May 2010.
  9. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. Heinz Welsch, 2011. "The magic triangle of macroeconomics: how do European countries score?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 71-93, January.
  11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  12. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  13. Scheve, Kenneth, 2004. "Public Inflation Aversion and the Political Economy of Macroeconomic Policymaking," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 1-34, February.
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