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Research - 16.02.2022 - 00:00

Tracking Inflation in Europe

After an extended absence from the headlines, inflation is back in the news and in policy debates. Stefan Legge, a lecturer at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), launched a website which tracks and presents the latest data on inflation.

16 February 2022. Inflation, specifically rising inflation, is back in the spotlight. Most people understand the basic concept of inflation: Money is used to buy goods and services. And if the price of something, say an apple or a liter of gas goes up, the value of each Euro or Swiss Franc is reduced because it can buy less.

One of the most frequently used measures of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which tracks the prices of a basket of goods and services. This includes transportation, food, or medical care. An increase or decrease of prices for these items assesses the changes to the cost of living. It is used as primary indicator for the rate of inflation. However, the CPI only considers some prices in the economy. It neglects, to a large extent, prices of assets such as real estate and shares.

Making data accessible

As an economist, Legge looked deeper into the issue of inflation and found that key figures are often hard to find. Moreover, there are many misunderstandings about the causes and ramifications of inflation. With these challenges in mind, Legge created the European Inflation Tracker (www.european-inflation-tracker.com). The website is home to data sources, graphs, and a history of inflation as well as the factors that play a role in it. This collection offers academics, policymakers, and the public-at-large up-to-date insight into the topic of inflation.

The goal of this new home to inflationary topics is to help people navigate in the challenging period of high inflation.

Stefan Legge is a lecturer at the Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research (SIAW-HSG) at the University of St.Gallen. He serves as a Global Future Council Fellow at the World Economic Forum and his commentary on current events has been featured in the BBC, Financial Times, Guardian, New York Times, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and DER SPIEGEL.

Image: AdobeStock / Blue Planet Studio

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