What Is the Relation Between Soaring Inflation and Lockdowns? Here Are Some Stats.

Skyrocketing inflation is putting the world on the brink of economic disaster. Whom should we blame first?

Levi Borba
8 min readJul 23, 2022

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CPI vs Stringency Index. Numbers were researched by the author using databases from the OECD and OurWorldInData.

First a disclaimer (and as you probably noticed from my other articles, I love to start with a disclaimer. It levels expectations and doesn’t let anyone down).

  • This is not an article about how efficient the lockdowns were in terms of reducing the number of victims from the pandemic.
  • This is not an article about healthcare. I am not a doctor, but just a dropout from an economics college degree program.
  • This is also not an article to blame anyone (although you are free to blame anyone you want in the comment section. As a matter of fact, I will be excited to read any rant).

Now that I used the Via Negativa (thanks Taleb) and defined what this article is not about, it’s time to explain what I tried to do here.

I took the numbers of inflation and the stringency index (a measure of how countries enforced restrictions and lockdowns during the COVID19 pandemic) from 28 countries.

Then, I used a statistical tool called correlation to see if there was any (you guess…) correlation between them.

While a positive correlation shows that two (or more) variables move in coordination with one another, it does not always indicate a relationship of cause or consequence.

For example, there is a highly positive correlation between the amount of oil imported by the US and the consumption of chicken meat by the US population. Both increased and decreased together for years. Does it mean that importing more oil barrels makes people visit KFC more frequently? No, although the variations of both may have a common cause (both increase during periods of economic growth, and decrease during crises).

CPI and Stringency Index: What they are?

So, I looked into the CPI for the second quarter of 2022 and the Stringency Index to see if they are related or, in other words, if a change in one could cause a change in the other.

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