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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the relationship between indexing and inflation
  • Identify three ways the government can control inflation through macroeconomic policy

When a price, wage, or interest rate is adjusted automatically with inflation, it is said to be indexed    . An indexed payment increases according to the index number that measures inflation. A wide array of indexing arrangements is observed in private markets and government programs. Since the negative effects of inflation depend in large part on having inflation unexpectedly affect one part of the economy but not another—say, increasing the prices that people pay but not the wages that workers receive—indexing will take some of the sting out of inflation.

Indexing in private markets

In the 1970s and 1980s, labor unions commonly negotiated wage contracts that had cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs)    which guaranteed that their wages would keep up with inflation. These contracts were sometimes written as, for example, COLA plus 3%. Thus, if inflation was 5%, the wage increase would automatically be 8%, but if inflation rose to 9%, the wage increase would automatically be 12%. COLAs are a form of indexing applied to wages.

Loans often have built-in inflation adjustments, too, so that if the inflation rate rises by two percentage points, then the interest rate charged on the loan rises by two percentage points as well. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)    is a kind of loan used to purchase a home in which the interest rate varies with the rate of inflation. Often, a borrower will be able receive a lower interest rate if borrowing with an ARM, compared to a fixed-rate loan. The reason is that with an ARM, the lender is protected against the risk that higher inflation will reduce the real loan payments, and so the risk premium part of the interest rate can be correspondingly lower.

A number of ongoing or long-term business contracts also have provisions that prices will be adjusted automatically according to inflation. Sellers like such contracts because they are not locked into a low nominal selling price if inflation turns out higher than expected; buyers like such contracts because they are not locked into a high buying price if inflation turns out to be lower than expected. A contract with automatic adjustments for inflation in effect agrees on a real price to be paid, rather than a nominal price.

Indexing in government programs

Many government programs are indexed to inflation. The U.S. income tax code is designed so that as a person’s income rises above certain levels, the tax rate on the marginal income earned rises as well; this is what is meant by the expression “move into a higher tax bracket.” For example, according to the basic tax tables from the Internal Revenue Service, in 2014 a single person owed 10% of all taxable income from $0 to $9,075; 15% of all income from $9,076 to $36,900; 25% of all taxable income from $36,901 to $89,350; 28% of all taxable income from $89,351 to $186,350; 33% of all taxable income from $186,351 to $405,100; 35% of all taxable income from $405,101 to $406,750; and 39.6% of all income from $406,751 and above.

Questions & Answers

what is microeconomics and macroeconomics
Usman Reply
microeconomic deal with the study of individual firms and household and macroeconomics deal with the economy as a whole.
Ebenezer
definition of Monopoly
malonzy Reply
Wat is the importance of economics
Vicky Reply
it broaden one's mind
malonzy
it help us to make good choices
Yussif
what is an efficient wage and how it causes structural unemployment and how it could be shown graphically?
Amos Reply
economics is a social science and an art discuss
Kerry Reply
further explanation on the definition
Samuel Reply
is demand the same as quantity demanded
Samuel
what is business economics
Nelson Reply
business economics is the way the society uses its limited resources to satisfy their unlimited wants
Sekai
what is business economics
THOMAS Reply
how did Mc connel defined economics
Isaac Reply
what is a economy planning?
Jacob Reply
what is demand
Sunday Reply
demand means desire for a commodity backed by willingness & ability to pay for that commodity
Rajesh
what is supply
Akoheni
supply means suppliers supplying more commodities when price's high or less when price's low to satisfy human want
Prince
the coefficient of price elasticity of supply is the measure of percentage change in the quantity supplied of a good due to a given percentage change in its price.
Khushiba
Please what is Economics of Scales?
Prince
what is cardinal and ordinal utility?
Khushiba
Cardinal utility is the satisfaction derived by the consumers from the consumption of goods and services while ordinal is ranked in terms of preference.
Grace
👍
Khushiba
Please explain what is meant by Economic Integration?
Prince
Please I need help!!!!
Prince
economics scales I don't know but I know laws of returns to scale
Khushiba
hello
TIMAH
hello
Khushiba
can someone help explain to me what is fairly inelastic dd
TIMAH
Economics Economics - The study of how people use their limited resources to try to satisfy unlimited wants
Abdullah
Economic integration has been one of the main economic developments affecting international trade in the last years. Countries have wanted to engage in economic cooperation to use their respective resources more effectively and to provide large markets for member-countries of the resulting integrate
Abdullah
Inelastic Demand When consumers are relatively unresponsive to price changes. A PED coefficient of less than one means that a particular change in the price of a good will be met by a proportionally smaller change in the quantity demanded.
Abdullah
demand refers to goods and services that a consumer is willing and able to buy at given rate over a given period of time
Freeman
Demand  - The entire relationship between the quantity of product that buyers wish to purchase per period time and the price of that product..
Abdullah
what are the factor that affect demand
akbal
what is development planning?
Emmanuel Reply
What is economics?
Shubham Reply
economics is study of scarcity and how humans make decisions.
sade
reason for development planning in West Africa
Emmanuel
what is development planning?
Emmanuel
What is homo Economicus?
nongo Reply
when a person is part 50% rational and the other part of him is 50% focused on money as an incentive
Yahir
what makes the economy to be stable
BELDON Reply
what measures are necessary to the economy which is not doing fine
BELDON
must find out the problems originating from and take remedy for it.
Rigved
Economics as a social science Discuss
Sire

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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