Money and inflation

100 trillion dollar Zimbabwean bill It's hard to be associated with the Federal Reserve and not think about monetary policy.  The issue comes up ten times a year.  I have more than this passing interest in it though.  I've been interested in monetary policy ever since I first learned about monetary policy in finance classes — strange place maybe, but who's to say? — when I was an undergraduate.

Lately, I have been working on Bitcoin and related digital developments. A paper on Bitcoin is available on my Digital revolution page. I also have a blog which has been mostly about Bitcoin so far.

Money and Inflation

I have written a few papers on the relationship between money growth and inflation.  Is there such a relationship and is it important?

Two fairly readable papers on money and inflation were published in Reserve Bank reviews. The more recent paper ”Are Money Growth and Inflation Still Related?” was published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review.  In this paper, Rik Hafer and I examine the relationship between money growth and inflation using data for selected countries for a hundred years and data for about 80 countries for five-year periods. We find a substantial relationship.

An earlier paper on the same lines with Rik asked: “Is Money Irrelevant?”. This was published in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review. The answer is: No.

I have written a couple of more technical papers on money and inflation. The most recent paper is “Inflation and Monetary Regimes” with Mark Fisher. We examine why the relationship between money and inflation appears to be closer when 1. high-inflation countries are included; and 2. the data are averaged over longer periods. Mark and I provide a single explanation for both observations. We suggest that long-term variation in the supply of money increases in importance compared to short-term or transitory variation in the demand for money when high-inflation countries are included and when data are averaged over longer periods. We also provide some evidence for this explanation.

An earlier paper tries to answer the question “Is Money Growth a Leading Indicator of Inflation?” I use quarterly data for the United States in a vector autoregression to examine whether complete neglect of money aggregates in monetary policy is justified. It is not; money growth helps to predict inflation.  Conclusions to the contrary around the data of publication, 2002, may be due to the high short-term variability of money growth and the low short-term variability of inflation. A version of this paper was published as “Money Growth and Inflation in the United States” in the book Monetary Policy and Taiwan's Economy published by Edward Elgar Publishing Limited in 2002.