Skip to main content

Is It More Expensive, or Does It Just Cost More Money?

(PDF PDF icon)

Most of us, from the general public to professional economists, use the term inflation pretty loosely. It’s increasingly applied to any rise in prices, and even economists use it interchangeably with a rise in the cost of living. This Commentary explains what inflation is, why it should be kept distinct from a rise in the cost of living, and how some statistical measures attempt to distinguish between the two.

Most of us, from the general public to professional economists, use the term inflation pretty loosely. It’s increasingly applied to any rise in prices, and even economists use it interchangeably with a rise in the cost of living. This Commentary explains what inflation is, why it should be kept distinct from a rise in the cost of living, and how some statistical measures attempt to distinguish between the two.


Suggested citation: Bryan, Michael F., 2002. "Is It More Expensive, or Does It Just Cost More Money?" Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary, 05.15.2002.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 09.15.22

    FedUniversity: Internships at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

    Join us on September 15, noon to 1:00pm, to learn about the Cleveland Fed’s annual internship program.

  • 09.29.22

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022, co-sponsored by the Center for Inflation Research and the European Central Bank will take place on September 29-30, 2022 in Cleveland, OH.

  • 10.06.22

    Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is sponsoring the Annual Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications in Macroeconomics and Finance to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Reserve Bank on Thursday and Friday, October 6–7, 2022.

  • 11.07.22

    Women in Economics Symposium

    Join the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the Women in Economics Symposium, which aims to encourage women to pursue a career in economics by discussing the successful career paths of diverse economics professionals and raising awareness of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

  • 11.17.22

    2022 Financial Stability Conference: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their 10th annual financial stability conference on November 17–18, 2022. This year’s conference is titled Financial Stability: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges.