Inflation has citizens’ around the world pointing a finger at government policies

People across 36 countries place (some of the) fault for the cost of living at the feet of politicians, but also realize there are larger factors at play.

Ipsos | Inflation | Society | Shoppers | Consumers

Consumers are feeling the pinch and they’re pinning some blame on government policies for their pain.

But, most also seem to understand there are other forces at play well beyond the control of any one country’s policy choices.

Prices for everything from gas to groceries skyrocketed in 2022. In response, central banks around the world have pulled the trigger on higher interest rates over and over again. While some governments have rolled out tax breaks and price caps to help people shoulder the burden of high prices, many are seriously struggling to get by.

The blame game

So, who (or what) is to blame for the ongoing cost-of-living crisis?

Citizens realize it’s complicated.

Online polling via Ipsos’ Global Advisor from Oct. 21 – Nov. 14 for the latest Ipsos Global Inflation Monitor finds almost three in four (74%), on average globally, believed “the state of the global economy,” followed by the invasion of Ukraine (70%) are contributing to inflation.

And just over two in three (68%), on average, across 36 countries said both the interest rate level in their country and the policies of their national government are contributing a fair amount/great deal to the rising cost of living.

Other factors 50%, or more, of those surveyed believe are factors in inflation including: businesses making excessive profits (62%), the pandemic (61%), workers demanding pay increases (51%) and immigration (50%).

Unsteady leadership

Great Britain, well, hasn’t had a great year.

Global problems, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and invasion of Ukraine, paired with national problems (Brexit and Liz Truss’ historically short run as prime minister) likely all helped push inflation even higher (hitting 11.1% in October) and drove down consumer confidence.

So, it’s perhaps little surprise the vast majority (84%) of people in Great Britain, followed closely by respondents in South Korea (82%) and Thailand (81%), said the policies of its government were contributing to the rising cost of living in their country.

Like Great Britain, South Korea has had a bumpy 2022.

Han Duck-soo returned as the country’s prime minister this May after previously serving in 2006 and 2007/08. By July the inflation rate in South Korea hit a high of 6.4% and while it fell to 5.0% by November PM Duck-soo remains “very unpopular for various reasons such as political scandals these days here in Korea,” said Chanbok Lee, Country Service Line Leader of Public Affairs for Ipsos in South Korea.

Thailand’s long-time prime minister has also been embroiled in his fair share of scandal over the years. Usana Chantarklum, Managing Director for Ipsos in Thailand, said 81% of Thais may put some of the blame on national policies for inflation, which hit 7.86% in August but was down to 5.55% by November, due to “the government’s unclear direction or measures that address the rising cost of living.”

Grim outlook

Inflation has eased slightly in Thailand and other countries in recent months, yet prices remain near historic highs. And some experts predict the cost of living could tick back up in 2023, while others warn a global recession is on the horizon.

Regardless of who (or what) is to blame, consumers don’t expect the economic pain to subside any time soon.

  • About 2 in 3, on average globally, thought inflation (69%), interest rates (63%) and unemployment (61%) will all rise a little/a lot over the next year (Nov. 2022 – Nov. 2023).
  • In contrast, only about one in four, on average globally, expected their standard of living (28%) and disposable income (27%) will go up by Nov. 2023.
  • And a mere 12%, on average, across 36 countries thought they’ll get a pay raise at or above inflation while 38% predicted they won’t get any raise at all from Nov. 2022-Nov. 2023.