Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Commodity Prices and Global Inflation, 1851-1913

Author(s): Stefan Gerlach and Rebecca Stuart

Publication Date: September 2021

Keyword(s): commodity prices, Global inflation, gold standard and pig iron

Programme Area(s): Economic History and Monetary Economics and Fluctuations

Abstract: This paper uses annual data to study the interaction of consumer and commodity prices in 15 economies over the period 1850-1913. We find that consumer price inflation in all 15 countries co-moves with a broad measure of changes in commodity prices. Consumer prices comove most strongly with changes in metal prices, in particular pig iron prices. Furthermore, changes in pig iron prices and production, which have attracted much attention in the literature on 19th century US business cycles, co-move with the international business cycle, suggesting that pig iron prices offer a transmission channel through which international business cycle movements affect inflation.

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Bibliographic Reference

Gerlach, S and Stuart, R. 2021. 'Commodity Prices and Global Inflation, 1851-1913'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.