Macroeconomic policy

M. Ayhan Kose, Csilla Lakatos, Franziska Ohnsorge, Marc Stocker, 27 February 2017

A growth surge in the world’s largest economy could provide a significant boost to global activity. In contrast, uncertainty about the direction of US policies could have the opposite effect. This column investigates spillover channels linking the US and the global economy. An acceleration in US growth would have positive effects for the rest of the world if not counterbalanced by increased trade barriers. However, policy uncertainty could hamper global growth, and could have particularly bad effects on investment growth in emerging and developing economies.

Vítor Constâncio, 22 February 2017

The Global Crisis and its aftermath led to greater use of stress tests and to the establishment of macroprudential policy as a new policy area. In this column, ECB Vice-President Vítor Constâncio introduces new suite of analytical tools that support the design and calibration of macroprudential policy. The tools go well beyond the requirements of the traditional solvency stress tests applied to banks, and include a broader set of institutions than just banks, an analysis of the financial cycle, as well as an assessment of systemic risk levels associated with the economic and financial shocks considered in adverse scenarios.

Massimiliano Marcellino, Angela Abbate, 04 February 2017

Exchange rates are important contributors to business cycle fluctuations in open economies. Forecasting exchange rates is not an easy task, however, perhaps due to the instability of their relationship with economic drivers. This column introduces a model that also allows for changing volatility when forecasting exchange rates. Modelling time variation in the cross-rate relationships, and in the volatilities of the shocks hitting the economic system, significantly improves forecasts.

Henrike Michaelis, Volker Wieland, 03 February 2017

In a recent speech, Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, compared the Fed’s strategy to simple reference rules, including the Taylor rule. This column argues that the comparisons enhance the Fed’s transparency and can help it to stand up to political pressure. However, Chair Yellen also suggests an important role for estimates of medium-run equilibrium real rates. Such estimates are extremely uncertain and sensitive to technical assumptions, and thus should not be used as key determinants of policy stance.

Ansgar Belke, Clemens Domnick, Daniel Gros, 19 January 2017

A high correlation of business cycles is usually seen as a key criterion for an optimum currency area. This column argues that the elasticity with which countries react to the common cycle is equally important. A country with a non-unitary growth elasticity relative to the common area will experience cyclical divergences at the peak and trough of the common cycle. Despite being characterised by highly-correlated business cycles, the Eurozone suffers from widely differing amplitudes. 

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