Inflation in South Africa: 1921 to 2006. History, measurement and credibility
Rossouw, Johannes Jacobus
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This study reports the development and use of an original methodology to measure inflation credibility, as well as the first results of such measurement in terms of an inflation credibility barometer. The barometer is an instrument measuring the degree of acceptance of the accuracy of historic inflation figures. Despite the lack of knowledge about inflation and the low inflation credibility recorded by this first calculation of an inflation credibility barometer for South Africa, valuable information about inflation is unveiled to the authorities. The research results serve as a benchmark, but cannot be compared to earlier research, as this study represents the first systematic measurement of inflation credibility in South Africa. The barometer yields better results than the limited current international measurement of perceptions of the accuracy of historic inflation figures. The barometer (i) reports the credibility of inflation figures as a figure between zero and 100; (ii) will highlight changes in credibility over time with repeated use; (iii) can be explained easily to the general public; (iv) provides for international comparison between countries; and (v) can be used by all countries. The use of inflation credibility barometers and changes in barometer readings over time can also serve as an early warning system for changes in inflation perceptions that might feed through to inflation expectations.