Inflation in Central and East European countries varied considerably over the transition phase, and econometric relationships between prices, money, wages and exchange rates are said to have been unstable during this period. In order to shed some light on the issue, this paper analyses some empirical models of the inflation process in the three earliest east European transition economies: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Since the end of the 1980s these economies have experienced high rates of inflation, although significant disinflation measures were introduced during the mid-nineties to enhance these countries? chances of joining the EU, and they succeeded in getting inflation under control without high costs in terms of lost output. Given this, the determinants of inflation need to be empirically analysed not only in order to understand the disinflation measures, but also to assess the possible effects of future pressure on prices. Price stabilisation is an essential complement to the success of transition. Policies to contain inflation are necessary for transition economies to grow and firms to restructure. In the present paper, we first look at inflation within the context of multivariate cointegration, where domestic and foreign price determinants are initially assessed in separate blocks (each single-theory based) in order to obtain a number of long-term attractors. We then formulate consumer and producer inflation equations from more general VEqCMs for each country. The importance of theory-based imbalances (from previous cointegration experiments) in explaining inflation can be assessed at this stage. Our most significant empirical findings seem to substantiate the idea that many, if not all, theoretical determinants of inflation are of importance in those countries in question: the exchange rate and the output gap would appear to be of particular importance in explaining the phenomenon.
Inflation modelling transition economies European Union enlargement