Reflation 101

What is reflation?

Reflation is the act of stimulating the economy by increasing the money supply or by reducing taxes, seeking to bring the economy (specifically price level) back up to the long-term trend, following a dip in the business cycle. It is the opposite of disinflation, which seeks to return the economy back down to the long-term trend. Reflation, which can be considered a form of inflation (increase in the price level), is contrasted with inflation (narrowly speaking) in that "bad" inflation is inflation above the long-term trend line, while reflation is a recovery of the price level when it has fallen below the trend line. For example, if inflation had been running at a 3% rate, but for one year it falls to 0%, the following year would need 6% inflation (actually 6.09% due to compounding) to catch back up to the long-term trend. This higher than normal inflation is considered reflation, since it is a return to trend, not exceeding the long-term trend. This distinction is predicated on a theory of economic growth where there is long-term growth in the economy and price level, which is widely accepted in economics. Just as disinflation is considered an acceptable antidote to high inflation, reflation is considered to be an antidote to deflation (which, unlike inflation, is considered bad regardless of its magnitude) - Link


Reflation policy has been used by American governments, to try and restart failed business expansions since the early 1600s. Although almost every government tries in some form or another to avoid the collapse of an economy after a recent boom, none have ever succeeded in being able to avoid the contraction phase of the business cycle. Many academics actually believe government agitation only delays the recovery and worsens the effects. Read more: Reflation Definition | Investopedia