We model UK price and wage inflation, productivity and unemployment over a century and a half of data, selecting dynamics, relevant variables, non-linearities and location and trend shifts using indicator saturation estimation. The four congruent econometric equations highlight complex interacting empirical relations. The production function reveals a major role for energy inputs additional to capital and labour, and although the price inflation equation shows a small direct impact of energy prices, the substantial rise in oil and gas prices seen by mid-2022 contribute half of the increase in price inflation. We find empirical evidence for non-linear adjustments of real wages to inflation: a wage-price spiral kicks in when inflation exceeds about 6%–8% p.a. We also find an additional non-linear reaction to unemployment, consistent with involuntary unemployment. A reduction in energy availability simultaneously reduces output and exacerbates inflation.


Castle, J.L., Hendry, D.F., & Martinez, A.B. (2023) 'The historical role of energy in UK price inflation and productivity with implications for price inflation', Energy Economics.
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