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.
When a formerly centrally-planned economy frees prices and allows or compels producers to respond to market signals, conventional measures tend to severely overstate short-run output decline and inflation. In part the overstatement stems from neglect of private sector activity, or from belated recognition of inflation previously disguised as quality improvements. Even when individual prices and outputs are correctly measured, however, shifts in relative prices consequent to price decontrol create a serious aggregation problem. Moreover, the standard indices ignore the deflationary trends in black markets. Superior growth and inflation indices are devised using a combination of official and black market prices.