The Monetary and Fiscal History of Brazil: 1960–2016
63 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2018 Last revised: 2 Mar 2019
Date Written: December 20, 2018
Brazil had a long period of high inflation. It peaked around 100% per year in 1964, and accelerated again in the 1970s, reaching levels above 100% on average between 1980 and 1994. This last period coincided with severe balance of payments problems and economic stagnation that followed the external debt crisis in the early 1980s. We show that the high-inflation period (1960-1994) was characterized by a combination of deficits, passive monetary policy, and constraints to debt financing. The transition to the low-inflation period (1995-2016) was characterized by improvements in all those instances, but it did not lead to significant improvements in economic growth. In addition, we document a strong correlation between inflation rates and seigniorage revenues, but observing that the underlying inflation rates are too high for the modest levels of seigniorage revenues. Finally, we discuss the role of monetary passiveness and indexation in accounting for the unique features of the inflation dynamics in Brazil in comparison to the other Latin American countries.
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