In Guyana, salaried employees traditionally receive a 13th month bonus-- the equivalent of one month's salary, paid as a bonus at the end of the calendar year.
This bonus, combined with the rush to buy gifts and traditional holiday foods, creates a surge in demand which I'm told pushes prices in the market up in the days before Christmas. Eggs in particular have a reputation for becoming outlandishly expensive.
I decided to see if the anecdotes shared by my colleagues were reflected in price data. They weren't. There is no seasonal uptick in Guyana's consumer price index in December. (There is some macro evidence of the bonuses: currency in circulation spikes in January.)
Assuming my colleagues' stories of spiking market prices are correct, why is there no increase in the CPI in December? I can think of several reasons.
I didn't tell him that I'd paid all my taxis extra that day, even the ones who'd asked the regular price, even though there didn't seem to be a shortage of taxis. Maybe for a short time during the holidays, the market just doesn't clear. Or maybe we pay a little extra, and we buy a little extra holiday cheer.
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.