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Is Low Inflation a Precondition for Faster Growth? The Case of South Africa

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  • Kevin S. Nell

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Abstract

In a recent article, Weeks (1999) identifies excessively high real interest rates as one of the reasons why the South African government's GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) programme has thus far been unsuccessful. This paper examines a related issue, namely whether inflation, at any given level, is always harmful to growth. The methodology employed presents a departure from standard time series case studies. In an attempt to study the costs and benefits of inflation, South Africa's inflationary experience over the last four decades is divided into four inflationary episodes. The empirical results suggest that inflation within the single-digit zone may beneficial to growth, while inflation in the double-digit zone appears to impose costs in terms of slower growth. However, further results indicate that even during periods when deflationary policy yielded growth benefits as a result of a more stable economic environment, the costs of deflation outweighed the benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin S. Nell, 2000. "Is Low Inflation a Precondition for Faster Growth? The Case of South Africa," Studies in Economics 0011, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Temitope Leshoro & Umakrishnan Kollamparambil, 2016. "Inflation Or Output Targeting? Monetary Policy Appropriateness In South Africa," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 69(276), pages 77-104.
    2. Faul, Joseph & Khumalo, Bridgette & Pashe, Mpho & Khuzwayo, Miranda & Banda, Kamogelo & Jali, Senzo & Myeni, Bathandekile & Pule, Retlaodirela & Mosito, Boitshoko & Jack, Lona-u-Thando & Phiri, Andrew, 2014. "Is South Africa's inflation target too persistent for monetary policy conduct?," MPRA Paper 58233, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Yasir Ali Mubarik, 2005. "Inflation and Growth: An Estimate of the Threshold Level of Inflation in Pakistan," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 1, pages 35-44.
    4. Phiri, Andrew, 2016. "Changes in inflation persistence prior and subsequent to the subprime crisis: What are the implications for South Africa?," MPRA Paper 70645, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Mavikela, Nomahlubi & Mhaka, Simba & Phiri, Andrew, 2018. "The inflation-growth relationship in SSA inflation targeting countries," MPRA Paper 82141, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Arne Heise, 2007. "Institutions, market constellations and growth: The case of South Africa," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 8(2), pages 313-340, November.
    7. Waseem Khadim & Saddam Ilyas & Bilal Mehmood, 2016. "Of Inflation and Growth Nexus in BRIMC Economies," International Journal of Economics and Empirical Research (IJEER), The Economics and Social Development Organization (TESDO), vol. 4(1), pages 32-45, January.
    8. Andrew Phiri, 2013. "An inquisition into bivariate threshold effects in the inflation-growth correlation: Evaluating South Africa’s macroeconomic objectives," Business and Economic Horizons (BEH), Prague Development Center, vol. 9(3), pages 1-11, October.
    9. Andrew Phiri, 2016. "Inflation persistence and monetary policy in South Africa: is the 3% to 6% inflation target too persistent?," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(2), pages 111-124.
    10. Nicas Yabu & Nicholaus J. Kessy, 2015. "Appropriate Threshold Level of Inflation for Economic Growth: Evidence from the Three Founding EAC Countries," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 2(3), pages 127-144, August.
    11. Yasir Ali Mubarik, 2005. "Inflation and Growth: An Estimate of the Threshold Level of Inflation in Pakistan," SBP Working Paper Series 08, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department.
    12. repec:asi:ajoerj:2013:p:363-380 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Phiri, Andrew, 2015. "Examining asymmetric effects in the South African Philips curve: Evidence from logistic smooth transition regression (LSTR) models," MPRA Paper 64487, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Khoza, Keorapetse & Thebe, Relebogile & Phiri, Andrew, 2016. "Nonlinear impact of inflation on economic growth in South Africa: A smooth transition regression (STR) analysis," MPRA Paper 73840, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Bonga-Bonga, Lumengo & Lebese, Ntsakeseni Letitia, 2016. "Rethinking the current inflation target range in South Africa," MPRA Paper 73912, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Athanasios Koulakiotis & Katerina Lyroudi & Nicholas Papasyriopoulos, 2012. "Inflation, GDP and Causality for European Countries," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 18(1), pages 53-62, February.
    17. repec:kap:iaecre:v:18:y:2012:i:1:p:53-62 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    costs of inflation; benefits of inflation; Phillips curve; growth; disinflation;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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