The Causes of Inflation

36 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2006

See all articles by Frederic S. Mishkin

Frederic S. Mishkin

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 1984


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.

Suggested Citation

Mishkin, Frederic S., The Causes of Inflation (September 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1453, Available at SSRN:

Frederic S. Mishkin (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics