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Inflation in South Africa: An Assessment of Alternative Inflation Models

5 April 2016
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: E31, O42, P24

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. The principal association is a strong positive relationship between inflation and nominal wages, while improvements in real labour productivity report only a relatively weak negative association with inflation. Supply side shocks also consistently report an association with inflation. As to demand-side shocks, the output gap does not return a robust statistical association with inflation. Instead, it is growth in the money supply and government expenditure which return robust and theoretically consistent associations with inflationary pressure.

Series title: Working paper 592
1 April 2016
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