NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Causes of Inflation

Frederic S. Mishkin

NBER Working Paper No. 1453
Issued in September 1984
NBER Program(s):   EFG

This paper attempts to provide a perspective on the causes of inflation by exploring why sustained inflations occur and the role of monetary policy in the inflation process. The conclusion reached in this paper is that in the last ten years there has been a convergence of views in the economics profession on the causes of inflation. As long as inflation is appropriately defined to be a sustained inflation, macro-economic analysis, whether of the monetarist or Keynesian persuasion, leads to agreement with Milton Friedman's famous dictum, "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." However, the conclusion that inflation is a monetary phenomenon does not settle the issue of what causes inflation because we also need to understand why inflationary monetary policy occurs. This paper also examines this issue and it finds that the underlying cause of inflationin the United States has been accommodating monetary policy geared to achieving a high employment target. The role of expectations has been important in the inflationary process so that to prevent the resurgence of inflation at a minimum cost in terms of unemployment and output loss, monetary policy must be both non-accommodating and credible.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1453

Published:

  • Mishkin, Frederic H. "The Causes of Inflation," Price Stability and Public Policy, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansa City, 1984, pp. 1-24, Kansas City.
  • Frederic S. Mishkin, 1984. "The causes of inflation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 1-32. citation courtesy of

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