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Inflation: increase in prices and inordinate increase in the supply of money in circulation as compared to the supply of goods and services; positive for debtors, negative for creditors, savers, and persons on fixed income.

1) Muenz-Inflation (coin inflation): During the reign of Friedrich III, so-called "Schinderlinge", coins with very low or no precious metal content, were minted (1458-1462). Because up to the 19th  century the value of coins was calculated according to their silver content, these coins were considered inferior. The 2nd major coin inflation took place as the intensification of a latent inflation from the late 16th  century ("Kipper und Wipper" inflation). At the time it was interpreted as being the result of the machinations either of a coin consortium (A. von Wallenstein, J. Bassevi, H. de Witte, K. Liechtenstein, and others), who had been given the rights to the Bohemian and Lower Austrian coinage on lease for a year or of various persons responsible for coinage in inner Austria, but it was in fact a means of financing the first phase of the 30 Years' War. In 1623 the situation was stabilised and the bad coins were exchanged at about 10% of their nominal value. As the acquisition of property confiscated from the aristocracy, particularly in Bohemia, had been carried out in part through the use of the valueless coins, demands for proper payment were made by the Aerar, or state treasury, to those who had benefited from the Kipper und Wipper inflation, particularly the Liechtensteins, for decades afterwards.

2) Papiergeld-Inflation (paper money inflation): From 1762, "Bancozettel" (bank notes) at the nominal value of 5-100 florins were issued in Austria by the Wiener Stadtbanco, whose value remained at par for a long time. In order to finance the Napoleonic Wars, the issue was increased considerably, which caused its value to drop. From 1800 Bancozettel valued at 1 and 2 Gulden were also issued, which led to the disappearance of the coins with these denominations. The value of the Bancozettel then dropped more and more rapidly; while in 1800, 115 florins in Bancozettel were worth 100 florins in standard coin ("Conventionsmuenze", C. M.), 10 years later 489 florins in Bancozettel had this value. The unsuccessful war of 1809 led ultimately to galloping inflation. On February 20, 1811, 1,060,000,000 florins worth of Bancozettel were devalued to a fifth of their nominal value and exchanged for redemption notes valued at 212 million florins ("national bankruptcy"). This currency was followed, from 1813, by so-called "Anticipationsscheine" ("anticipation notes"), which were successively withdrawn and replaced from 1816 on (establishment of the Austrian National Bank, currency stabilisation). From then on the new paper money, known as Viennese currency ("Wiener Waehrung"), remained in a fixed ratio to standard coin of 250 : 100, until in 1860 it was replaced by the uniform "Oesterreichische Waehrung" (Austrian currency").

Although currency stabilisation was successful in the 2nd  half of the 19th  century and in 1900 the transition to the krone brought a stable gold standard, a new wave of accelerated inflation began when World War I broke out. The war was financed through bonds. The available amount of goods did not correspond to the increase in the amount of currency, and the shortage in almost all sectors swiftly led to inflation; by the end of the war the price level was 15 times as high as in 1914. Enormous budget deficits, even after the war had ended (partly as the result of food subsidies) and anti-krone speculations forced inflation even higher. Measures aimed at the absorption of excess purchasing power remained largely ineffective. By August 1922 the value of the paper krone had fallen so far that one gold krone was worth 14,400 paper kronen: 1. The economic reconstruction effected by the Geneva Protocols of October 1922 (Federal Chancellor I. Seipel) and the resulting budget stabilisation stabilised the value of the krone. In 1924 the new schilling currency was introduced (10,000 paper kronen = 1 schilling).

The Second World War also led to signs of inflation, which, however, remained hidden until the end of the war. The stabilisation measures then undertaken were: the reintroduction of the schilling in a new form ("Schillinggesetz") in November 1945, the currency protection law ("Waehrungsschutzgesetz") of 1947, which abolished the blocked accounts of the Nazi regime, 5 price-and-wage agreements among the social partners in 1947-1950, an industrial price-lowering campaign and the limitation of the budget deficit in 1951/1952, and the deceleration of the increase in supply of money instituted by Finance Minister R. Kamitz. Post-war inflation (caused, among other things, by the costs of the Occupation and the general depletion of goods) ended in 1951. Since then inflation in Austria has corresponded to the general situation in European countries, although the large increases in the budget deficit resulting from measures to fight economic stagnation after 1975 and after 1991 created above average inflation rates. As a result of Austria´s accession to the EU and the introduction of the Euro the inflation rate declined to under 1% until 1999 (1999: 0.6%), reaching its lowest level since 1952 and 1953. ( Consumer Price Index).


A. Beer, Die Finanzen Oesterreichs im 19. Jahrhundert, 1876 (reprinted in 1973); K. Bachinger and H. Matis, Der oesterreichische Schilling, 1974; F. Butschek, Die oesterreichische Wirtschaft im 20. Jahrhundert, 1985.