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Economic Commentary

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

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.


The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bryan, Michael F. 2002. “Is It More Expensive, or Does It Just Cost More Money?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 5/15/2002.