Where danger lurks
Olivier Blanchard 03 October 2014
Before the 2008 crisis, the mainstream worldview among US macroeconomists was that economic fluctuations were regular and essentially self-correcting. In this column, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard explains how this benign view of fluctuations took hold in the profession, and what lessons have been learned since the crisis. He argues that macroeconomic policy should aim to keep the economy away from ‘dark corners’, where it can malfunction badly.
Until the 2008 global financial crisis, mainstream US macroeconomics had taken an increasingly benign view of economic fluctuations in output and employment. The crisis has made it clear that this view was wrong and that there is a need for a deep reassessment.
The benign view reflected both factors internal to economics and an external economic environment that for years seemed indeed increasingly benign.
Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
macroeconomics, global crisis, great moderation, rational expectations, nonlinearities, fluctuations, business cycle, monetary policy, inflation, bank runs, deposit insurance, sudden stops, capital flows, liquidity, maturity mismatch, zero lower bound, liquidity trap, capital requirements, credit constraints, precautionary savings, housing boom, Credit crunch, unconventional monetary policy, fiscal policy, sovereign default, diabolical loop, deflation, debt deflation, financial regulation, regulatory arbitrage, DSGE models
To exit the Great Recession, central banks must adapt their policies and models
Marcus Miller, Lei Zhang 10 September 2014
During the Great Moderation, inflation targeting with some form of Taylor rule became the norm at central banks. This column argues that the Global Crisis called for a new approach, and that the divergence in macroeconomic performance since then between the US and the UK on the one hand, and the Eurozone on the other, is partly attributable to monetary policy differences. The ECB’s model of the economy worked well during the Great Moderation, but is ill suited to understanding the Great Recession.
“Practical men…are usually the slaves…[of] some academic scribbler of a few years back” – John Maynard Keynes.
For monetary policy to be most effective, Michael Woodford emphasised the crucial importance of managing expectations. For this purpose, he advocated that central banks adopt explicit rules for setting interest rates to check inflation and recession, and went on to note that:
Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
Taylor rule, forward guidance, great moderation, global crisis, Great Recession, quantitative easing, DSGE models, expectations, tapering, US, UK, Europe, eurozone, ECB, Bank of England, central banking, IMF, unconventional monetary policy
The myth of financial innovation and the Great Moderation
Wouter den Haan, Vincent Sterk 08 November 2011
Financial institutions played a leading role in the global crisis, and policymakers are under pressure to do something about them. This column argues that before any draconian measures are passed, we need to be reminded of the benefits of the financial sector and the innovation it provides.
Many changes have taken place in the financial sector over the last couple of decades. Deregulation was followed by a burst of innovation, a step-up in leverage, an increase in cross-border capital flows, and larger financial institutions. The recent financial crisis is believed to have been caused by some of these changes in the financial sector, and lawmakers are under pressure to come up with new legislation that will do a better job in restraining the financial sector and result in a more stable economy.
financial institutions, business cycles, great moderation
Does the Great Recession really mean the end of the Great Moderation?
Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko 16 January 2010
Was the Great Moderation “something of a fluke”? This column argues that good monetary policy did play a role in taming inflation. It argues that the current recession, while clearly severe by historical standards, does not seem to imply a return to the levels of volatility observed in the 1970s.
“No one knows for sure what caused the Great Moderation. Some had credited increased sophistication of financial markets and the wisdom of the Federal Reserve Board... Well, folks, it turns out the great moderation was something of a fluke.” – Robert Reich, 15 July 2008
inflation, monetary policy, great moderation