Revue d'économie financière n°152 offers an enlightening analysis of the return of inflation and its many facets.

Edited by Hans Helmut Kotz and Jean-Paul Pollin, this issue brings together contributions from leading researchers who explore the root causes of inflation, its heterogeneities across countries and income groups, and its implications for economic policy.

A surprisingly varied comeback

The plural title "Inflations" chosen by the publication's editors immediately underscores the complexity of the phenomenon. Far from being an unequivocal phenomenon, inflation is characterized by a wide diversity of experiences across countries and income groups. This heterogeneity is illustrated by the widening gap in underlying inflation rates between European Union member states, rising from an historical average of 1.7 to 6.5 in 2023.

Multiple causes and ongoing debates

The authors of this issue explore the various causes of the return of inflation, which is the subject of lively debate among economists. Among the explanations put forward are geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, accommodating central bank monetary policies, and structural transformations in the global economy.

Perspectives for public policy

Despite the uncertainties as to the transitory or permanent nature of inflation, the authors offer food for thought for public policies aimed at restoring price stability, the central objective of central banks. They stress the need for a global approach that takes account of the various dimensions of the problem, from demand and supply to structural changes.

A symptom of deeper difficulties

Beyond its monetary dimension, inflation is seen as a symptom of deeper economic, social and political difficulties, as James Tobin's (1987) quote at the start of the article reminds us. This holistic view of inflation calls for in-depth reflection on the levers of action available to promote sustainable, inclusive growth.

A change of regime

In conclusion, this issue of REF highlights the complex, multi-faceted nature of inflation, emphasizing that it is a "regime change" in the words of Pascal Blanqué. A thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of this phenomenon is essential if we are to develop effective and relevant public policies.

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