The Bank of Israel - Vol. 1

By Haim Barkai; Nissan Liviatan | Go to book overview

17
The International Perspective

INFLATION, DISINFLATION, AND GROWTH

Israel’s disinflation is part of a global trend of reducing inflation after the inflationary acceleration occasioned by the energy shocks of the 1970s.1 In Latin America and the former Soviet Union, disinflation played a role in a much more significant economic transformation. In southern Europe, it was part of the adjustments required for joining the European Monetary Union. That Israel would join this worldwide trend was inevitable.

Inflation and disinflation processes around the world are usually considered in the context of growth performance, since poor performance on growth may provide an incentive to disinflate in the expectation that this action will be rewarded with faster growth. Since we know that growth patterns differ widely among countries—there is no general tendency for convergence of per capita GDP2—we compared Israel with various groups of countries that are of special interest. They include the G7 countries and those of the European Union (representing the winning OECD model), southern European countries that joined the EMU and resemble Israel in their stage of economic development, the former chronic-inflation countries of Latin America, Asian Tiger countries that have exhibited continuously strong growth performance, and the Australia-New Zealand duo, representing Western-style economies that are relatively isolated from the big economic blocs of the United States and the European Union.

Our computations compare per capita GDP growth rates,3 per-capita GDP levels relative to the United States, and (median) inflation rates in terms of simple averages of country groups in various recent periods since 1960 (table 17.1).

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