This a simple approach to understand inflation and its impact on the economy, while the inflation rises the causes and measurements are studied to control inflation, with conflicts consequences and policies.
InflationConsequences and Policy Options
Qambrani Shoaib Anwer
WHAT IS INFLATION?
Simply put, inflation is a situation in the economy where, there is more money chasing less of goods and services. In other words,
it means there is more supply/availability of money in the economy and there are less of goods and services to buy with that
increased money. Thus goods and services command a higher price than actual as more people are willing to pay a higher value
to buy the same goods. In this inflationary situation, there is no real growth in the output of the economy per se. It’s simply
more money chasing few goods and services.
THE BASIC TYPES OF INFLATION
1. Demand-Pull Inflation
Demand-pull inflation places responsibility for inflation squarely on the shoulders of increases in aggregate demand. This
type of inflation results when the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) collectively
try to purchase more output that the economy is capable of producing.
In terms of the simple production possibilities analysis, demand-pull inflation results when the economy bumps against,
and tries to go beyond, the production possibilities frontier. Then end result is inflation.
In the more elaborate aggregate market analysis, demand-pull inflation results when aggregate demand increases
beyond aggregate supply creating economy-wide shortages. As with market shortages, the price (or price level) rises.
Then end result is inflation.
2. Cost-Push Inflation
Cost-push inflation places responsibility for inflation directly on the shoulders of decreases in aggregate supply that result
from increases in production cost. This type of inflation occurs when the cost of using any of the four factors of production
(labor, capital, land, or entrepreneurship) increases.
In terms of the production possibilities analysis, this means that the production possibilities frontier is shrinking closer
to the origin, causing it to bump down against the aggregate demand. Then end result is inflation.
In the aggregate market analysis, aggregate supply decreases to less than aggregate demand creating economy-wide
shortages. As with any market shortages, the price (price level) rises. Then end result is inflation.
The Inflation Rate and the Price Level
The inflation rate is the percentage change in the price level. The formula for the annual inflation is
Current year’s Last year’s
Price level Price level
Last year’s price level
WHAT ARE THE WAYS OF MEASURİNG INFLATION?
Consumer Price Index (CPI) -- This measures the consumer prices of a basket of commodities in different cities.
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) -- This measures the different prices of a basket of commodities in the wholesale markets. The
basket is broadly made up of Primary products, Fuel products, and manufactured products.
GDP Deflator --This is used to adjust measure of gross domestic product for inflation.
CAUSES OF INFLATION
Inflation may be caused by an increase in the quantity of money in circulation. This has been seen most graphically when
governments have financed spending in a crisis by printing money excessively, often leading to hyperinflation where prices rise
at extremely high rates. Another cause can be a rapid decline in the demand for money as happened in Europe during the black
The money supply is also thought to play a role in determining levels of more moderate levels of inflation, although there are
differences of opinion on how important it is. For example, Monetarist economists believe that the link is very strong; Keynesian
economics by contrast typically emphasize the role of aggregate demand in the economy rather than the money supply in
A fundamental concept in such Keynesian analysis is the relationship between inflation and unemployment, called the Phillips
curve. This model suggested that price stability was a trade off against employment. Therefore some level of inflation could be
considered desirable in order to minimize unemployment. The Philips curve model described the Pakistan experience well in the
2008, but failed to describe the combination of rising inflation and economic stagnation (sometimes referred to as stagflation)
experienced in the 2010.
Another Keynesian concept is the natural gross domestic product, a level of GDP where the economy is at its optimal level of
production. If GDP exceeds its natural level, inflation will accelerate as suppliers increase their prices. If GDP falls below its
natural level, inflation will decelerate as suppliers attempt to fill excess capacity.
Is Inflation Good For The Economy?
Yes and No. Yes because Inflation helps producers realize better margins. This incites them to do better and produce more. No
because it reduces the buying power of the consumer in real terms.
INFLATION refers to a situation in the economy where there Is a general and sustained increased in prices, and is measured in
terms of indices such as the CPI.
Types and Causes Policy Options
Demand-pull inflation (shifting AD)
Increased AD (anything that changes CIGXM)
o Reduction in exchange rates
o Reduction in taxes
o Reduction in i/r (hence I
o Rising consumer confidence
o Faster economic growth externally
Changes in money supply
o Money supply growing faster that output
o Increased bank borrowing
Cost-push inflation (shifting AS)
o Wage-push inflation
o Profits-push inflation - firms passing on costs to
consumers by raising prices
o Supply-side inflation - rise in prices of imported raw
o Higher import/export prices
o Increase in the level of indirect taxes
o Structural inflation due to structural rigidities (like
Generally used for Dd-pull
, C AD
, C AD
SsM i/r etc
Supply side policies
- Improve efficiency of labour
markets such that unN
- Better matching of workers to
Reduce the monopoly/market
power of unions/business, such
they unable to push up W rates
ahead of average productivity
increases. (e.g. antitrust laws)
- Wage guideposts
- Price guideposts
- Wage-price freeze
Supply side economics
- Increase AS e.g., via increasing
Note that regulating inflation should always be a government’s first
priority as it may lead to a major economic collapse as well as the
implementation of currency reforms.
Meeting other policy objectives often conflicts with decreasing
inflation – e.g. increasing employment, economic growth etc.:
Phillips’ Curve: Trade off between unemployment and inflation?
Case 1: Demand-pull inflation
Negligible change in output,
unemployment and NY -
economy at Yf.
Consequently, SOL falls.
Case 2: Cost-push inflation
output, unemployment and NY
Consequently, SOL falls
BOP – CP, relative prices of exports quantity of exports
current account worsens feedback mechanism problem
worsens especially when inflation is cost-push, may alleviate
*Cheaper M lower Dd for local goods X-M AE
FDI – FDI will probably (due to inflation being a sign that the
economy is unstable), but depends on the degree of inflation
BOP worsens – pressure on xcr to depreciate.
Lower level of investments
Moderate/high inflation business confidence I
EG limited (PPC does not shift out as much)
Mild inflation stimulates EG and builds business confidence as it is a
sign of a healthy economy I
PPC shifts outward
Savings decrease, consequently, EG is limited
The value of money falls as people would rather consume at the
present time SsM available for I
EG is limited
Redistribution of income
Wage price spiral
Prices Dd for higher W W prices etc.
Function of money breaks down
- Money as a medium of exchange, serves as a store of value. Under
severe inflation, these functions break down. Regression of the
economy into one that deals with barter trade. Consequently, the
price mechanism is distorted (under hyperinflation) and can no
longer rationally allocate resources.