The Confusion Over Inflation

Economists usually oppose high inflation, but they oppose it in a milder way than many non-economists. Robert Shiller, one of 2013’s Nobel Prize winners in economics, carried out several surveys during the 1990s about attitudes toward inflation. One of his questions asked, “Do you agree that preventing high inflation is an important national priority, as important as preventing drug abuse or preventing deterioration in the quality of our schools?” Answers were on a scale of 1–5, where 1 meant “Fully agree” and 5 meant “Completely disagree.” For the U.S. population as a whole, 52% answered “Fully agree” that preventing high inflation was a highly important national priority and just 4% said “Completely disagree.” However, among professional economists, only 18% answered “Fully agree,” while the same percentage of 18% answered “Completely disagree.”

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