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Inflation vs Recession

Inflation and recession are two completely distinct economic conditions. While inflation is the gradual rise in prices of goods, a recession on the other hand is an intense drop-off in business actions. Inflation has become an expected consequence of any economy yet countries strive to prevent recessions with all their power.

What’s the difference between inflation and recession?

The main distinction between inflation and recession is that while inflation is an increase in goods prices, a recession is a steep decline in economic activities such as production, employment, trade, investment, and spending. Inflation generally affects all areas of the economy; however, its effect varies from sector to sector. A recession usually has more severe impacts on certain sectors than others.

While inflation is seen as an unavoidable reality associated with every economy, nations go out of their way to avoid recessions due to their damaging consequences for businesses and households alike.

What Is Inflation?

Inflation is a continual increase in the prices of goods and services that ultimately results in a decrease in purchasing power. The prices of goods and services are usually adjusted to reflect changes in supply and demand, but when these adjustments happen at too rapid a rate, it can lead to inflation. Central banks attempt to limit inflation and avoid deflation, to keep the economy running smoothly. Inflation can be caused by several factors such as increasing global demand, rising production costs, government policies, or currency depreciation.


  • Inflation is the increase in the general price level of goods and services
  • Causes: It can be caused by population growth, wealth and resource hoarding, increased public spending, indirect taxes, and international debt
  • Three main types: demand-pull, cost-push, and built-in inflation
  • Effects: increase in the price of goods and services, decrease in purchasing power of money


What are some common misconceptions about inflation?

Many people have misconceptions about inflation that can lead to confusion and misunderstandings about how the economy works and how it can be managed. Here are a few examples:

1. Inflation is always bad.

Fact: While high levels of inflation can be problematic, low levels of inflation can be beneficial for an economy. Inflation can help to encourage spending and investment by reducing the real value of money over time.

2. Inflation is caused by increases in the money supply.

Fact: While an increase in the money supply can contribute to inflation, it is not the only factor that determines the rate of inflation. Inflation can also be caused by increases in demand for goods and services, or by increases in the cost of production.

3. Inflation is the same as cost-of-living increases.

Fact: Cost-of-living increases refer to changes in the prices of the goods and services that people typically purchase, such as food, housing, and transportation. Inflation, on the other hand, refers to the overall increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy.

4. Inflation can be completely eliminated.

Fact: While it is possible to keep inflation at low and stable levels, it is not possible to completely eliminate inflation. Some level of inflation is often necessary to encourage spending and investment and to allow for adjustments in the economy.

5. Deflation is the opposite of inflation.

Fact: Deflation is the decrease in the general price level of goods and services, which can be caused by a decrease in the money supply or an increase in aggregate supply. It is not necessarily the opposite of inflation. Both can occur at the same time.

What Is A Recession?

A recession is a period of economic decline, typically characterized by a fall in GDP (gross domestic product), a decline in employment, and a decline in trade. Recessions typically follow a period of economic growth but they may also occur without it. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including a slowdown in consumer spending, a decline in business investment, and a tightening of credit conditions. Once there has been a decline in economic activity lasting for two consecutive quarters or six months, it can usually be defined as a recession, and it is often followed by a period of slow recovery.


  • A recession is an economic phase of business stagnation that results in a financial crisis for the entire economy
  • Causes: It can be caused by trade wars, fiscal austerity, interest rates rise, asset price fall, and a shift in consumer behavior
  • Subtypes: balance sheet recession, boom, and bust recession, and supply side shock recession
  • Effects: increase in unemployment, economic slowdown, fewer jobs due to business shutdowns.


Does Inflation Cause A Recession?

Inflation does not necessarily cause a recession, but it can have a significant impact on economic activity. When prices rise too quickly, households may reduce their spending to afford the higher costs of goods and services. This reduced demand can lead to lower production levels and ultimately lead to an economic recession.

While both inflation and recession can have negative effects on an economy, they are not necessarily related. Economic downturns and recessions do not need to be accompanied by high levels of inflation. Inflation can skyrocket even in the absence of a recession, and vice versa.

It’s important to note that these are general descriptions of inflation and recession and there can be many other factors at play in any given economic situation.

What Are The Effects Of Inflation And Recession?

The effects of both inflation and a recession depend largely on how severe they are and for how long each lasts. Inflation can result in rising living costs, which can be especially damaging for those living on fixed incomes or with limited savings. A recession, on the other hand, can bring about widespread economic hardship and reduced opportunities. It can also lead to a decrease in businesses’ profitability, reducing investment and growth prospects for the future.

Both inflation and recession have different effects on an economy depending on their severity and duration. Inflation affects all areas of the economy by increasing prices, whereas recession brings about widespread economic downturns that reduce consumption, production, employment levels, investments, and spending. Therefore governments need to manage these two economic conditions carefully to ensure sustainable economic growth.

What Are The Policies To Control Inflation And Recession?

Many economic policies can be used to try to control inflation and recession, and the most effective policies depend on the circumstances of the particular economy. Governments can try to control inflation through monetary policy measures such as setting interest rates or controlling the money supply. Similarly, governments might use fiscal policy to try to combat recession by investing in infrastructure projects or providing tax incentives for businesses.

Policies to control inflation

1. Monetary policy

Central banks can use a variety of tools, such as adjusting interest rates or changing the money supply, to try to control inflation.

2. Fiscal policy

Governments can use their spending and taxation powers to try to control inflation. For example, they can reduce government spending or increase taxes to reduce demand and curb inflation.

3. Price controls

Governments can impose price controls on certain goods or services to try to keep prices from rising too quickly. However, price controls can also have negative side effects, such as reducing the availability of goods or distorting market incentives.


Policies to control recession

1. Monetary policy

Central banks can lower interest rates or increase the money supply to try to stimulate demand and boost economic activity.

2. Fiscal policy

Governments can increase spending or decrease taxes to try to stimulate demand and boost economic activity.

3. Structural reform

Governments can implement structural reforms, such as deregulation or privatization, to try to improve the efficiency of the economy and encourage growth.

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of the policies that can be used to try to control inflation and recession, and the effectiveness of these policies can vary depending on the specific circumstances of an economy. In general, inflation and recession can both be managed through a combination of monetary and fiscal policies.

To control inflation, governments use monetary policies such as raising interest rates and controlling the supply of money in the economy. Fiscal policies are also used to reduce inflation, such as cutting government spending and raising taxes.

To manage a recession, governments use fiscal policies to increase aggregate demand in the economy. This includes cutting taxes, increasing public spending, and reducing interest rates. In addition, monetary policies can be used to encourage economic activity and investment by increasing the supply of money.