After almost two years of battling price pressures by embarking on one of the most aggressive hiking cycle in economic history, central banks seem fully committed to go even further with their tightening campaign to rein in runaway inflation should the case be
High inflation in many countries will not be defeated by firm monetary policies alone, nor will it be tackled without them. Even if monetary policies are tightened massively, inflation will not fall relatively quickly and sustainably to the desired levels until fiscal expectations are stabilized.
After World War II, democracies witnessed transformations that were and are much more lenient vis-à-vis the rise in inflation. The main institutional changes that have occurred gradually ever since and can combine nowadays to fuel inflation refer to (i) the shift in ideas referring to equality and redistribution, (ii) the labor market policies, (iii) bringing man’s natural environment to the level of importance of the social environment, with a particular focus on climate, and (iv) preserving a large capacity of the government to produce inflation in a context in which political power has granted independence to the central bank in terms of monetary policy. We show how features of society listed under items (i)-(iv) had combined to lead to low and stable inflation during 1982-2008, to lower than desired inflation during 2009-2020, and to the high inflation starting with 2021. The inflation-taming efforts succeeded only when three elements acted jointly: (A) raising the interest rate while no longer considering the inflation-unemployment tradeoff, impacting features (ii) and (iv); (B) adjusting budget deficits and stabilizing fiscal expectations, impacting feature (iv); (C) measures for reviving economic freedom, with an impact on features (i), (ii), and (iii).
During a short time span, the macroeconomic backdrop and monetary policy challenges shifted dramatically in a way hardly seen in the recent history. Thereby, from a prolonged period of subdued inflation to a period of high inflation and potentially stagflation; from persistent and extended efforts to increase the degree of monetary accommodation to sustained actions of tightening to rein in the runaway inflation
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