Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. TESLA! Cathy Wood ARK Funds Bubble BURSTS! - 12th May 21
2.Stock Market Entering Early Summer Correction Trend Forecast - 10th May 21
3.GOLD GDX, HUI Stocks - Will Paradise Turn into a Dystopia? - 11th May 21
4.Crypto Bubble Bursts! Nicehash Suspends Coinbase Withdrawals, Bitcoin, Ethereum Bear Market Begins - 16th May 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.Cathy Wood Ark Invest Funds Bubble BURSTS! ARKK, ARKG, Tesla Entering Severe Bear Market - 13th May 21
7.Stock Market - Should You Be In Cash Right Now? - 17th May 21
8.Gold to Benefit from Mounting US Debt Pile - 14th May 21
9.Coronavius Covid-19 in Italy in August 2019! - 13th May 21
10.How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part 2 of 2 - 18th May 21
Last 7 days
Global Stock Market Investing: Here's the Message of Consumer "Overconfidence" - 25th Jul 21
Gold’s Behavior in Various Parallel Inflation Universes - 25th Jul 21
Indian Delta Variant INFECTED! How infectious, Deadly, Do Vaccines Work? Avoid the PCR Test? - 25th Jul 21
Bitcoin Stock to Flow Model to Infinity and Beyond Price Forecasts - 25th Jul 21
Bitcoin Black Swan - GOOGLE! - 24th Jul 21
Stock Market Stalling Signs? Taking a Look Under the Hood of US Equities - 24th Jul 21
Biden’s Dangerous Inflation Denials - 24th Jul 21
How does CFD trading work - 24th Jul 21
Junior Gold Miners: New Yearly Lows! Will We See a Further Drop? - 23rd Jul 21
Best Forex Strategy for Consistent Profits - 23rd Jul 21
Popular Forex Brokers That You Might Want to Check Out - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Black Swan - Will Crypto Currencies Get Banned? - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Price Enters Stage #4 Excess Phase Peak Breakdown – Where To Next? - 22nd Jul 21
Powell Gave Congress Dovish Signs. Will It Help Gold Price? - 22nd Jul 21
What’s Next For Gold Is Always About The US Dollar - 22nd Jul 21
URGENT! ALL Windows 10 Users Must Do this NOW! Windows Image Backup Before it is Too Late! - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Price CRASH, How to SELL BTC at $40k! Real Analysis vs Shill Coin Pumper's and Clueless Newbs - 21st Jul 21
Emotional Stock Traders React To Recent Market Rotation – Are You Ready For What’s Next? - 21st Jul 21
Killing Driveway Weeds FAST with a Pressure Washer - 8 months Later - Did it work?- Block Paving Weeds - 21st Jul 21
Post-Covid Stimulus Payouts & The US Fed Push Global Investors Deeper Into US Value Bubble - 21st Jul 21
What is Social Trading - 21st Jul 21
Would Transparency Help Crypto? - 21st Jul 21
AI Predicts US Tech Stocks Price Valuations Three Years Ahead (ASVF) - 20th Jul 21
Gold Asks: Has Inflation Already Peaked? - 20th Jul 21
FREE PASS to Analysis and Trend forecasts of 50+ Global Markets by Elliott Wave International - 20th Jul 21
Nissan to Create 1000s of jobs with electric vehicle investment in UK - 20th Jul 21
Bitcoin Halvings Price Forecast and Stock to Flow Analysis - 18th Jul 21
Dell S3220DGF Unboxing and Stand Assembly - 32 Inch 165hz Curved Gaming Monitor Amazon Discount - 18th Jul 21
What Does The Fed Mean By “Transitory Inflation” And Why Is It Important To Understand? - 18th Jul 21
Will the US stock market’s worsening breadth matter? - 18th Jul 21
Bitcoin Halving's Price Projection Forecasts Trend Trajectory - 18th Jul 21
Dell S3220DGF Price CRASH to £305! 32 Inch 165hz Curved Gaming Monitor Amazon Bargain - 16th Jul 21
Google, Amazon and Netflix are Scrambling For This Rare Gas - 16th Jul 21
Sheffield Millhouses Park New Children's Play Area July 2021 Vs Old Play Area - Better or Worse? - 16th Jul 21
Inflation Soars, Powell Remains Unmoved. What about Gold? - 16th Jul 21
Goldrunner: Gold Could Jump To $1,900-$2,100 In Next 30 days – Here’s Why - 15th Jul 21
Tips For Finding The Right Influencers - 15th Jul 21
ECB Changed Monetary Strategy. Will It Alter Gold’s Course? - 15th Jul 21
NASA And Big Tech Are Facing Off Over This Rare Gas - 15th Jul 21
Will the U.S. Dollar Lose Momentum In the Second Half of 2021? - 15th Jul 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Inflation Has Not Cured Iceland’s Economic Problems

Economics / Inflation Nov 05, 2013 - 07:11 AM GMT

By: David_Howden

Economics

No two countries’ responses have polarized commentators over the past five years more than the contrasting post-crisis policies in Iceland and Ireland.

In a paper published in Economic Affairs (available here as a PDF) I contrast the policies enacted by Iceland and Ireland, perhaps the two countries most affected by the liquidity freeze of 2008. A common conclusion has been that one country did everything right and the other did everything wrong, however, I take a more pragmatic approach. There are some positive aspects in each case, and other aspects we can do without.


At the risk of over-simplifying their situations, the key policy differences are:

  1. Iceland allowed substantial swaths of its financial sector to collapse (mostly foreign-domiciled subsidiaries) while Ireland enacted blanket guarantees to keep its financial sector afloat.

  2. Iceland quickly inflated its krona in a bid to regain international competitiveness through depreciation. By being locked in the euro, Ireland was unable to pursue a similar path and instead had to become more attractive to foreigners by lowering its domestic prices (i.e., disinflation or outright deflation).

  3. Iceland stymied a capital flight by enacting monetary controls aimed at keeping investment within the country. By being part of the European Union, Ireland maintained its commitment to free capital markets, and investors were able to enter or exit as they pleased.

The evidence is mixed as to which solution was more effective. Iceland seems to have softened the immediate blow of its recession, but present growth in Ireland is stronger. In a similar way, unemployment in Iceland was less and still remains lower today.

For our purposes here, I want to focus just on the effects of their respective monetary policies, and how the short-term gains from Iceland’s inflationary response now pale in comparison to Ireland’s more subdued response.

Figure 1: Nominal GDP (2008 = 100) Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Figure 1 shows the common story. Iceland’s inflationary policy stimulated exports, papered over some bad debts, and in general allowed it to exit the storm relatively unscathed. In contrast, Ireland is languishing in slow growth and five years later the country’s income is still 10 percent below its pre-bust peak.

Such an analysis neglects the pernicious effects of inflation on the Icelandic economy. This policy increased the money supply by almost 20 percent in 2008 alone, and lead to an immediate increase in prices.

Figure 2: Real GDP (2008 = 100) Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

In figure 2 we get a better feel for how the situation felt to the average Icelander or Irishman. As the Central Bank of Iceland inflated the money supply, price inflation raged. Icelanders continually felt their financial security worsen as their purchasing power collapsed. This was not apparent to the rest of the world, fixated as it was on the nominal prices the Icelandic economy posted. By its nadir in late 2010, inflation-adjusted income in Iceland was down over 35 percent.

In Ireland this decline was muted because of price deflation. As domestic prices fell it became easier for Irish citizens to make their declining nominal incomes go further. At its worst, the Irish economy collapsed less than 10 percent in real terms.

This seems to suggest that Ireland had the better solution by not pursuing an inflationary monetary policy. Some will note, however, that Iceland’s recovery since 2010 has been quite strong.

Indeed, if we look at the drop in the employment rate for both countries most probably feel more sympathy for the masses of unemployed Irishmen.

Figure 3: Employment rate (2008 = 1) Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Digging deeper, however, we find that not all is as it seems. Many Icelanders work two jobs to make ends meet. This effect was increasingly pronounced through the recession as inflation made it more difficult to get by with one salary. As a consequence, many Icelanders lost one job during the recession but the unemployment statistics did not reflect this as they were still employed elsewhere. This is notably not the case in Ireland, where not only is one job per worker the norm, but falling prices made it easier for an employed person to make ends meet as the recession continued.

A better way to gauge the employment situation is to look at changes in the hours worked.

Figure 4: Annual hours worked (2008 = 100) Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Here we can see the situation is reversed. By the recession’s trough in 2010 the number of hours worked by the average Icelander had fallen 6 percent while in Ireland the corresponding drop was only 3.5 percent — almost half as much.

Both countries still have problems. Iceland’s monetary controls are notably stifling needed investment, while Ireland is left with a large debt from bailing out its banks, and this is stalling growth. One thing is clear though — the effects of monetary policy are stark and the proclaimed benefits of Iceland’s inflationary policy were counteracted by the price inflation that ensued.

Don’t let a good crisis go to waste; learn something from it. As the tale of these two countries demonstrates, inflating one’s currency may give the appearance of recovery, but the truth is somewhat less rosy.

David Howden is a PhD candidate at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid, and winner of the Mises Institute's Douglas E. French Prize. Send him mail. See his article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2013 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in