The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
In light of the persistence of moderate inflation in many transition economies, this paper analyzes whether inflation resulted from insufficiently tight financial policies and wage pressures or from the protracted adjustment of relative prices. Using a new database for 21 countries, the effect of relative price variability on inflation is estimated within a framework controlling for nominal and real shocks. Money and wage growth were the most important determinants of inflation; relative price variability had a sizable effect at high inflation during initial liberalization and a small effect at moderate inflation. Cost recovery may contribute to variability, particularly in the advanced stages of the transition.