The Autocorrelation of Hyperinflation (about 7 events, not 58)

According to a CATO working paper (Hanke and Krus 2012), there have been 56 cases of hyperinflation. 58 if we include North Korea (they weren’t sure about the data quality) and Venezuela (which occurred after their paper).

There are several things I would like to point out that relate to recent twitter threads on hyperinflation but I will save for another day. However, I just thought it interesting to point out the very strong autocorrelation in these events. These cases are often discussed more or less singly, or by “type” (from war, regime change, supply shocks etc), and many lists are sparse, containing only a few well known events. The Hanke-Krus data is very complete, yet the list is constructed oddly – it is not in chronological, alphabetical, nor regional order. Re-arranging the Hanke-Krus list highlights something however: barring three outliers (France, 1795-1796, North Korea 2012, and Venezuela 2016-) there have actually been only five hyperinflation “events”, each associated with particular large, long-term global processes (involving war, decolonization, regime change, foreign denominated debt/currency pegs). The spatial and temporal clustering of these events is perhaps best expressed visually (Chile* and Zimbabwe are temporal outliers within their spatial cluster)
The re-arranged Hanke-Krus list:


Germany Russia post WWI, Bolshevik


post WWII


Latin America 1980s.JPG


Central Africa 1990s.JPG


Post Soviet, early 1990s

I have some more comments on this list, the autocorrelation in these cases etc in a future post.


*  1972 note that “Chile’s total foreign indebtedness is reported to be $2‐billion to $3‐billion” (around 12. 8 billion to 19.17 billion in 2021 $).  New York Times, 1972


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Our one thousand castaways develop, before our eyes, a “perfect” economy, and demonstrate how the horizontal and vertical systems of money naturally emerge from even more fundamental organizational needs of a large society.

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March 31, 2019

3 thoughts on “The Autocorrelation of Hyperinflation (about 7 events, not 58)

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