Inflation

Our preferred measures are consumer price indices or their close relative, cost-of-living indices.  Our data sources for the post World War II period are standard databases of the International Monetary Fund-International Financial Statistics (IFS) and World Economic Outlook (WEO). Since our analysis spans several earlier centuries, we rely on the meticulous work of a number of economic historians who have constructed such price indices item by item, most often by city rather than by country, from primary sources.  In this regard, the scholars participating in the Global Price and Income History Group project at the University of California, Davis and their counterparts at the Dutch International Institute of Social History have been an invaluable source for prices, particularly for Europe.  The complete references by author to this body of scholarly work are given in the detailed references for each country.  For colonial America, the Historical Statistics of the United States (HSOUS), while Richard Gardner (Economic History of Latin America, the United States and the New World, 1500-1900) covers key cities.

When more than one city index is available for a country, we work with the simple average across cities (or regions) for the same country, such as in much of the pre-1800s data.  When no consumer price (cost-of-living) indices are available, we turn to wholesale or producer prices indices (as, for example, China in the 1800s and the U.S. in the 1720s).  Absent any composite index of any kind, we fill in the holes in coverage with individual commodity prices. This almost always takes the form of wheat prices for Europe and rice prices for Asia.  Finally, from the 1950s (depending on the country) and thereafter to the present the IFS/WEO data dominate all other sources, as it enforces uniformity.

Four spreadsheets cover annual data from as early as 1265 (depending on the country) to 2010 (updated with the IMF's October 2010 World Economic Outlook) for 70 countries.  Each country has its own page with the underlying data from multiple sources (with their corresponding full bibliographical references) that make up the Reinhart-Rogoff (RR)  series.

Inflation Part I: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, and El Salvador.
Inflation Part II: Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia,  Mauritius, Mexico, and Morocco.
Inflation Part III:
Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Inflation Part IV:
Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Click the file name to download or view the file.


« Back to Browse by Topic