There are Pandemic Shortages, but Prices aren't Rising : The Indicator from Planet Money The pandemic spurred a year full of shortages, so why haven't producers responded by raising prices in most cases?
NPR logo

Shortages: Inflation In Disguise?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/992528310/992580739" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Shortages: Inflation In Disguise?

Shortages: Inflation In Disguise?

Shortages: Inflation In Disguise?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/992528310/992580739" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Over the past year, shortages have been happening all over the economy: semi conductor chips, cat food, yeast, Xboxes, boba tea, Pickle jars, lumber, bicycles, outdoor furniture, rental cars, chicken wings, gardening supplies, those little French bull dogs, ketchup, and garden gnomes.

Despite all these shortages, prices haven't moved much in most cases. Inflation has continued to remain low. This seems to go against economic logic: usually, when supply can't keep up with demand, suppliers raise prices until the demand meets the supply they have, eliminating shortages.

Have we defeated inflation? Or is it just in disguise? On The Indicator, we talk to Conor Sen, a columnist at Bloomberg, about two reasons why prices have remained low despite the plethora of shortages.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.