With the inflation rate rising in the 1970s, the concept of an underlying rate of inflation became increasingly popular. The rationale for subtracting out food and fuel price increases was straightforward: such increases were viewed as reflecting special supply-side factors likely to be temporary and reversible or, at worst, one-time rises in relative prices with no lasting effect on the inflation rate. This paper presents empirical evidence that raises serious questions about these assumptions and procedures. More specifically, shifts in aggregate demand have a statistically significant cumulative effect on food prices and this effect increases quantitatively as food moves from the farm to the retail level. The cumulative effect of demand on food prices was also found to have increased over time (as farmers' value-added declined) and demand appears to effect prices more quickly at the wholesale level than at the retail level.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics