NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

World Hyperinflations

August 21, 2012

Hyperinflation is the extreme result of war, political or social upheavals/mismanagement, and a transition from a command to a market-based economy. Eastern Europe and Asia experience a lot of the hyperinflation that corresponded with all the wars and political turmoil during the 20th century.

Scholarly work on hyperinflation has been held back by a lack of studies that consider all episodes of hyperinflation around the world, even those that had previously unreported on. In addition, the study of hyperinflation suffers from a lack of consensus on definitions, classifications and sloppy reasoning, which is the result of all the ambiguity.

Steve Hanke and Nicholas Krus of the Cato Institute sought to create a table that was comprehensive and covered all episodes of hyperinflation.

  • Their research contains all 56 episodes of hyperinflation, even those that had gone previously unreported.
  • The table is compiled in a systematic and uniform way that meets the replicability test.
  • In addition, it has clean and consistent inflation metrics, and the start and end date of each episode.
  • It also includes the month of peak hyperinflation, the currency that was in circulation and the method used to calculate inflation rates.

Source: Steven H. Hanke and Nicholas Krus, "World Hyperinflations," Cato Institute, August 15, 2012.


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