E31

Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

What Price-Level Data Tells Us About Consumer Price Rigidity in Zimbabwe: Evidence From New Data

This paper documents the price setting behaviour, and the change in this behaviour, amongst retail firms after the introduction of the new currency system in Zimbabwe. We use sample data which covers 291 products to investigate whether prices became more flexible (rigid) and to track the adjustment process as Zimbabwe moved further away from the date the new currency system was introduced. We find evidence that prices became more flexible with time although this change is relatively small compared to the variation in the frequency of price changes between months.

Inflation Dynamics in a Dollarised Economy: The Case of Zimbabwe

This paper explores the dynamics of inflation in the dollarised Zimbabwean economy using the Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model (ARDL) with monthly data from 2009:1 to 2012:12. The main determinants of inflation were found to be the US dollar/South African rand exchange rate, international oil prices, inflation expectations and South African inflation rate. During the local currency era, inflation dynamics in Zimbabwe were explained by excess growth in money supply, changes in import and administered prices, unit labour costs and output (Chhibber, Cottani, Firuzabadi and Walton, 1989).

Inflation in South Africa: An Assessment of Alternative Inflation Models

We consider the relative empirical performance of a range of inflation models for South Africa. Model coverage is of Phillips-curve, New Keynesian Phillips curve, monetarist, and structural models of inflation. Our core findings are that the single most robust covariate of inflation is unit labour cost. We further decompose unit labour cost into changes in the nominal wage and real labour productivity.

Macroeconomic Uncertainty in South Africa

This paper develops a new index of economic uncertainty for South Africa for the period 1990-2014 and analyses the macroeconomic impact of changes in this measure. The index is constructed from three sources: (1) Disagreement among professional forecasters about macroeconomic conditions using novel data from a forecasting competition run by a national newspaper, (2) a count of international and local newspaper articles discussing economic uncertainty in South Africa and (3) mentions of uncertainty in the quarterly economic review of the South African Reserve Bank.

Measuring Core Inflation in South Africa

Measures of core inflation convey critical information about an economy. They have a direct effect on the policy-making process, particularly in inflation-targeting countries, and are utilized in forecasting and modelling exercises. In South a Africa the prices indices on which inflation is based have been subject to important structural breaks following changes to the underlying basket of goods and the methodology for constructing price indices.

Assessment of Monetary Union in SADC: Evidence from Cointegration and Panel Unit Root Tests

In this paper we investigate the likelihood of a proposed monetary union in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) being successful from the viewpoint of the Generalised Purchasing Power Parity (GPPP) hypothesis and optimum currency area (OCA) theory. We apply Johansen’s multivariate co-integration technique, panel unit root tests, Pedroni’s residual cointegration test and error correction based panel co-integration tests.

Optimal Monetary Policy with Learning by Doing

I study the implications of learning by doing in production for optimal monetary policy using a basic New Keynesian model. Learning-by-doing is modeled as a stock of skills that accumulates based on past employment. The presence of this learning-by-doing externality breaks the ’divine coincidence’ result, that by stabilising inflation the output gap will automatically be closed, for a variety of shocks that are important in explaining the buseiness cycle. In this context, the policy maker must consider the impact on future productivity of any trade-off between output and inflation today.

Price setting behaviour in Lesotho: Stylised facts from consumer retail prices

This paper documents some of the main features of price setting behaviour by retail outlets in Lesotho over the period March 2002 to December 2009. The sample of data covers 229 product items for 345 retail outlets. The paper has three main objectives. Firstly, it presents key indicators of price setting behaviour such as the frequency of price changes, the average size of price changes and the probability of price changes at the retail outlet level.

Relative price variability: Which components of the consumer price index contribute towards its variability?

This paper follows work by Choi, Kim and O’Sullivan (2011), but deviates from their analysis by looking at the relative price variability (RPV) of selected components of the consumer price index (CPI) rather than an aggregate measure. The purpose of this work is to analyse which components are more variable and to see if there has been a change in the RPV (i.e., mean and distribution) since the adoption of inflation targeting (IT) in South Africa.

Inflation and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Southern African Development Countries

In this paper we investigate the role of inflation rates in determining economic growth in fifteen sub-Saharan African countries, which are all members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), between 1980 and 2009. The results, based on panel time-series data and analysis, suggest that in‡ation has had a detrimental effect to growth in the region. All in all, we highlight not only the fact that inflation has offset the prospective Mundell-Tobin effect and consequently reduced, the much needed, economic activity in the region,

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