How the Public Views the Inflation-Unemployment Tradeoff
The public really hates inflation, probably due to money illusion, which is one of the reasons we are in the current situation. Circa 1996 Robert Shiller asked a group of 113 randomly chosen responders the following questions:
Imagine that you faced a choice for the United States between the following two extreme possibilities, which would you choose?
1) The US would have in the next 10 years an inflation rate of only 2% a year, but an unemployment rate of 9%, thus about 12 million unemployed.
2) The US would have in the next ten years an inflation rate of 10% a month, but an unemployment rate of only 3%, thus about 4 million unemployed.
The results: 75% chose option 1, the low inflation, high unemployment option.
Similar results were found in Germany.
Addendum: The Brazilians, who have the most experience with high inflation, were the most likely to choose 2 (46%).