Stagflation for College Students: How does the Ukrainian conflict financially impact students?


Anywhere you go in the United States right now, you will see a rise in prices.

According to a chart from AAA, Louisiana’s gas prices are around 4-5 dollars depending on what type you get. A simple grocery trip that might normally cost $30, now can cost up to $50. 

Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Martin Meder discussed the difference between inflation and stagflation.

He said that inflation is where the economy does not have all of the things that consumers want to purchase. Buyers will start to “outbid” one another for the items that are available, which makes the prices rise. 

Dr. Meder talked about how stagflation comes from the supply side of the economy, rather than the demand side with inflation. Still, stagflation is inflation. 

“Something constricts how many goods are available,” Meder stated. “So, we have a decrease in output, which causes consumers to pay more for what is remaining.”

He states that stagflation is harder to fight than inflation because, in stagflation, there are not as many products available. Inflation can be fought off by getting buyers to go easy on buying products. 

February’s consumer price index report shows that the price of energy rose because of the low amount of energy products we have. This can be tied into the Ukraine and Russia conflict, especially with the troubles of getting gas to the Western Market. 

“Here, we have a decrease in the amount of gas that is available,” Meder said. “Because we have a decrease in access to those people who are producing this gas, this is pretty clearly a case of stagflation.” 

He went on to mention that because of the limited access to those producing gas, we are seeing the price of gas rise.  

The reason stagflation should be important to college students is because this affects things that they do.

As mentioned earlier, gas prices have already risen, but grocery prices will also start to rise. Meder said that because it will cost more to bring the groceries in and to put them on the shelves, those prices will be put on the buyers. 

“This Ukraine business is certainly not going to make it any easier, [or] cheaper to move goods around the world,” Meder stated. 

He went on to say that because of the conflict with Ukraine, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia missed their “first quarter forecast,” which they thought the current inflation in America would begin to decline. 

From the conflict in Ukraine, along with the sanctions, it will continue to be hard to move supplies, and prices may continue to rise. 

Meder said that there really is no way anyone can prevent inflation. As students, buying the cheaper option from the store, or taking fewer trips to not have to fill up with gas so often, can help save money.

“This is ultimately a decrease in the quality of life we are talking about,” Meder ended.