Macroeconomic policy

Nauro Campos, Jarko Fidrmuc, Iikka Korhonen, 26 September 2017

The debate about the future of the Economic and Monetary Union entails a careful examination of the costs and benefits of the European single currency. This column takes stock of the empirical evidence on the euro’s effects on business cycle synchronisation. We find that synchronisation across European countries increased by 50% after 1999 (the year the euro was introduced) and that this increase was more pronounced in euro area countries.

Klaus Adam, Henning Weber, 26 September 2017

The productivity of many firms evolves over time, which impacts the optimal inflation rate, that is, the rate of price increase with the least distortionary effect on relative goods prices. This column presents estimates for the US that suggest that, due to firm-level productivity changes, the optimal inflation rate has dropped from somewhat over 2% in the mid-1980s to a current level of roughly 1%.

Giancarlo Corsetti, Gernot Müller, Keith Kuester, 16 September 2017

The classic rationale for flexible exchange rates was that policymakers would be unconstrained by currency targets. The Great Recession, however, saw numerous central banks constrained instead by the zero lower bound. This column considers which exchange rate regime is best for small open economies in a global recession. The model suggests that if the source of the shock is abroad and foreign interest rates become constrained at their zero lower bound, then flexible exchange rates do provide a great deal of insulation to the domestic economy.

Roel Beetsma, Oana Furtuna, Massimo Giuliodori, 05 September 2017

Research has shown that planned fiscal consolidations have been less recessionary when carried out through public spending cuts rather than through increases in government revenues. This column argues that this may be at least partly due to differences in follow-up for the two consolidation strategies. Better follow-up of announced spending contractions may result in negative Keynesian responses similar to those that follow announced revenue increases, and so they may not necessarily provide a 'cheaper' route to budgetary consolidation than revenue increases.

Ricardo Caballero, Alp Simsek, 30 August 2017

Interest rates continue to decline across the globe, while returns to capital remain constant or increasing. The reasons for this widening risky-safe gap are wide-ranging. This column illustrates the secular rise of risk intolerance in the global economy, and summarises a new macroeconomic framework suitable for this environment. It uses this framework to discuss the current global macroeconomic context, its underlying fragility, and the coexistence of low equilibrium interest rates and high speculation.

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