Global Inflation Dynamics in the Post-Crisis Period: What Explains the Twin Puzzle?

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Inflation dynamics in advanced countries have produced two consecutive puzzles during the years after the global financial crisis. The first puzzle emerged when inflation rates over the period 2009-11 were consistently higher than expected, although economic slack in advanced countries reached its highest level in recent history. The second puzzle - still present today - was initially observed in 2012, when inflation rates in advanced countries were weakening rapidly despite the ongoing economic recovery. This paper specifies a global Phillips curve for headline inflation using inflation expectations by professional forecasters and a measure of economic slack at the global level over the period 1995q1-2013q3. Phillips curve data points in the period after the global financial crisis show a significantly different but consistent pattern compared to data points in the period before or during the crisis. In the next step, potential explanatory variables at the global level are assessed regarding their ability to improve the in-sample fit of the global Phillips curve. The analysis yields three main findings. First, the standard determinants can still explain a sizable share of global inflation dynamics. Second, household inflation expectations are an important addition to the global Phillips curve. And third, the fiscal policy stance helps explain global inflation dynamics. When taking all three findings into account, it is possible to closely replicate global inflation dynamics over the post-crisis period.