Time is tight so I can’t do a real blog post just now. However, I thought I could mention oil shocks and the difference between their impact in the 1970′s and now.
Oil prices have gone through the roof in recent times as a result of high world prices. In 2006, New Zealand was also suffering from its own oil shock, with world prices high and our dollar falling. However, we haven’t really seen much of an impact on the domestic economy, other than a slight fall off in domestic consumption. Compare this to the 1970′s, when oil shocks caused periods of massive inflation, forcing economists to see that the Phillips curve idea didn’t hold up in a dynamic setting.
Greg Mankiw goes on to discuss three reasons why oil shocks haven’t lead to massive inflation (note that the current oil shock will be severe in the USA, as their dollar has fallen strongly and world prices have risen):
- The economy is more energy-efficient
- Labour markets are more flexible, monetary policy has been designed better
- The inflationary impact of an oil price shock is different when it is the result of greater demand for oil (as it is currently) compared to the 1970′s when their was a cut in the supply of oil.
If I find time, I might try to talk about these issues, and how I think oil price shocks influence the NZ economy, but don’t count on it . So, does anyone have anything to say about oil price shocks (preferably not about peak oil, but if you really have to )
Update: There was a fourth reason in the Mankiw article. 4) The increase in oil prices was not as sudden, giving economic variables the chance to adjust (this concept comes from his New Keynesian belief in sticky wages and prices).
Update 2: Even NZPA has something to say about Oil prices and inflation, it might be a hot topic.
Update 3: Looks like the topic of Oil prices is making its rounds on the blogsphere. With US economic growth at 3.9% (this is an annualised rate, it is equivalent to have just under 1.0% quarterly growth in terms of how we measure GDP in NZ) with these high oil prices, it looks like this will be an important and interesting issue.