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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify patterns of inflation for the United States using data from the Consumer Price Index
  • Identify patterns of inflation on an international level

In the last three decades, inflation has been relatively low in the U.S. economy, with the Consumer Price Index typically rising 2% to 4% per year. Looking back over the twentieth century, there have been several periods where inflation caused the price level to rise at double-digit rates, but nothing has come close to hyperinflation.

Historical inflation in the u.s. economy

[link] (a) shows the level of prices in the Consumer Price Index stretching back to 1916. In this case, the base years (when the CPI is defined as 100) are set for the average level of prices that existed from 1982 to 1984. [link] (b) shows the annual percentage changes in the CPI over time, which is the inflation rate.

U.s. price level and inflation rates since 1913

Graph a shows the trends in the U.S. price level from the year 1916 to 2014. In 1916, the graph starts out close to $10, rises to around $20 in 1920, stays around $16 or $17 until 1931, when it jumps to around $15. It gradually increases, with periodic dips, until 2014, when it is around $236.   Graph b shows the trends in U.S. inflation rates from the year 1916 to 2014. In 1916, the graph starts out at 7.7%, jumps to close to 18% in 1917, drops drastically to close to –11% in 1921, goes up and down periodically, until settling to around 1.5% in 2014.
Graph a shows the trends in the U.S. price level from the year 1916 to 2014. In 1916, the graph starts out close to $10, rises to around $20 in 1920, stays around $16 or $17 until 1931, when it jumps to around $15. It gradually increases, with periodic dips, until 2014, when it is around $236. Graph b shows the trends in U.S. inflation rates from the year 1916 to 2014. In 1916, the graph starts out at 7.7%, jumps to close to 18% in 1917, drops drastically to close to –11% in 1921, goes up and down periodically, until settling to around 1.5% in 2014.

The first two waves of inflation are easy to characterize in historical terms: they are right after World War I and World War II. However, there are also two periods of severe negative inflation—called deflation    —in the early decades of the twentieth century: one following the deep recession of 1920–21 and the other during the Great Depression of the 1930s. (Since inflation is a time when the buying power of money in terms of goods and services is reduced, deflation will be a time when the buying power of money in terms of goods and services increases.) For the period from 1900 to about 1960, the major inflations and deflations nearly balanced each other out, so the average annual rate of inflation over these years was only about 1% per year. A third wave of more severe inflation arrived in the 1970s and departed in the early 1980s.

Visit this website to use an inflation calculator and discover how prices have changed in the last 100 years.

Times of recession or depression often seem to be times when the inflation rate is lower, as in the recession of 1920–1921, the Great Depression, the recession of 1980–1982, and the Great Recession in 2008–2009. There were a few months in 2009 that were deflationary, but not at an annual rate. Recessions are typically accompanied by higher levels of unemployment, and the total demand for goods falls, pulling the price level down. Conversely, the rate of inflation often, but not always, seems to start moving up when the economy is growing very strongly, like right after wartime or during the 1960s. The frameworks for macroeconomic analysis, developed in other chapters, will explain why recession often accompanies higher unemployment and lower inflation, while rapid economic growth often brings lower unemployment but higher inflation.

Questions & Answers

list three possible ways of addressing and adverse balance of payment
Meribah Reply
when MPs is 0.3 and autonomous consumption is 30billion what is d consumption expenditure
queen Reply
what is macroeconomic?
Shahidul
Consumption expenditure becomes: C = 30b + 0.3Y without lump sum tax and C = 30b + 0.3Yd with lump sum tax
olumide
Macroeconomics deals with the study of the behavior of aggregate individuals, firms or government in an economy in relation to consumption patterns and decision making
olumide
If the government decrases spending by ksh. 500 billion what is the change in output given MPC is 0.75
Gichana Reply
375
Philip
how can policy makers strike the balance between inflation and unemployment?
Oreva Reply
c=800 + 0.75y i=500 G=900 compute the equilibrium level of national output
Omar Reply
y=c+I+g+(X-M) y=800+.75y+500+900+0 y-.75y=2200 .25y=2200 y=2200/.25 y=8800=national level of output
Anik
Please tell me the current crr, repo rate etc
Ranjeeta Reply
cash reserve ratio is the amount that is deposit by the commercial bank in Central bank.... n repo rate is a loan interest amount
Sahar
what is slr madam sahar
Rohit
jo amount bank reserve rakhti hai bank mai customers k liye jese ATM mai ya bank mai rakha hota hai, wo slr hota hai
Sahar
pakka sahi hai
Rohit
good joke
Rohit
Argentina Lose !!😭😭
MR.ASHIM
SLR refers to that portion of total deposits of a commercial bank which it has to keep with itself in the form of cash reserve
Ranjeeta
What is cash crop?
Ranjeeta Reply
commeciaal crops
Amal
So jowar is not cash crop?
Ranjeeta
anything which is plant inorder to sell in the market
Simeon
How demand deposits are different from savings?
Ranjeeta
can unemployment be a factor of inflation?
David Reply
yeah it has an impact on cost push inflation
Vincent
microeconomics is individual firms and macroeconomics is a large as a full
kendra Reply
That's true 👍
Kwibuka
word micro means small and tiny part. word macro means large and big part.
saddiq
Exactly
Emmanuel
is unemployment another cause of inflation?
David
can I say unemployment can cause inflation?
David
no. unemployment can possibly lead to deflation
Asdfghjkl
if their are no production am I correct to say inflation will occurs
David
one of the causes of inflation is excess demand. if there's no production there would be no demand so no inflation
Asdfghjkl
if we take a look at inflation, it occur because of low production. High price chasing few goods.
David
So are you saying demand creates supply?
David
to an extent because if s9mething is demanded, it's likely to be supplied
Asdfghjkl
OK am still confused, if there is unemployment low production, and employment high production, inflation high increase in price, how can production be high and we are faced with inflation? When inflation is referred to higher price chasing few goods.
David
if the demand is increased , what is the graphics on it?
Tadesse Reply
what is macroeconomics
Prosenjit Reply
large-scale economics, such as interest rates or the gross national national product rate of of a country
Michael
Macroeconomics: is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. This includes regional, national, and global economies.
Khadar
well said
Michael
hello everyone, would like to ask a favor... i need your help to answer this problem: Assume that equilibrium GDP is 400B; potential GDP is 500B, the marginal propensity to consume is 9/10, the interest rate is 8%, investment spending is P20B, the money supply is 120B, and the reserve requirement
Jerelyn
is 1/10. By how much and in what direction should the Fed change the monetary base?
Jerelyn
what are the factors that influence surplus budget? and its effects
Christopher Reply
what is credit creation
Christopher
join
Christopher
how monetary and fiscal policy affect money supply? on economy
Christopher Reply
what is hyperinflation
David Reply
what is stagflation
Riaz
in an economy when there is both inflation & unemployment prevailing at the same time.
Yogesh
@david - hyperinflation is very rapid inflation; it is sometimes reckoned to set in when price increases exceed 50 percent per month. Such rapid inflation not merely makes money useless as a store of value, but seriously affects its use as a medium of exchange
sagar
thanks
Riaz
@yogesh: the one you are describing is Stagflation
Tutohar
I was answering to Riaz's querry.
Yogesh
Sorry, didn't see the question
Tutohar
what is credit creation?
Christopher
what are the factors that influencing surplus budget
Christopher
may I ask master level questions on this chat?
saddiq Reply
yes
deepali
am so confused about the concept of scarcity. can u hlp me
saddiq
 · Concepts of Scarcity. Scarcity refers to the condition of insufficiency where the human beings are incapable to fulfill their wants in sufficient manner. In other words, it is a situation of fewer resources in comparison to unlimited human wants. Human wants are unlimited.
Shittu
what is PPC
Kalpana
Production possibility curve is a curve that shows different possibilities of production of a set of two good which can be produced with the given resources
Ranjeeta
micro vs macro which is complex in your view?
Bijaya

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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