Monday, January 16, 2012

Inflation and presidential approval

The fight over reporting inflation in Argentina continues to rage, with the opposition claiming 2011 should be 22.8 percent while the government will soon report something less than half of that. Venezuela has the highest in the region, at about 30%.

What's notable, though, is that it does not seem to drive down presidential approval. After a dismal period for a while, Cristina Fernández is now very popular, with approval of 67 percent. Her approval has actually increased in the context of double-digit inflation. Meanwhile, Hugo Chávez has decent approval--hovering around 50 percent--and it's fair to say inflation is not the top reason others view him unfavorably.

Meanwhile, there are unpopular presidents, such as Sebastián Piñera of Chile, who preside over low inflation.

So people obviously care about inflation, but they care about a lot of other things more when taking the measure of their president. I wonder, then, if there is any way to determine a tipping point. At what point do people start feeling disgruntled enough to start aiming their ire at the president?

It is worth noting that the constant media and political opposition attention to the higher levels of inflation in the region don't tell us much about popular reaction. Presidents have been ousted because of hyperinflation, but they may not even be voted out because of 20-30% inflation.


Otto Rock 10:19 AM  

If you don't look at average salary increase data at the same time, you're not even trying. The typical gringo anal ysis of "oooh isn't inflation terrible!" gets rather boring otherwise.

Latin Americans 2:21 AM  

I like this concept. I visited your blog for the first time and just been your fan. Keep posting as I am goanna come to read it everyday!!

Mandramas 12:00 PM  

If the average salary follow the inflation closely, inflation impacts more to higher classes, that losses money since their banks account depreciates quickly. Since the higher class are already hating presidents like CFK and Chavez, it is not an issue.
After all, a recession is associated to low inflation.

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