Why is euro inflation so low?

Jean-Pierre Landau 02 December 2014

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Inflation in the Eurozone stood at 0.4% (year on year) in November. It has been persistently declining for almost a year, and constantly undershooting forecasts. The Eurozone is now clearly diverging from many advanced economies, where inflation is either on the rise – albeit at moderate levels – as in the US, or, when falling, still remaining close to target, as the UK.

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  inflation, eurozone, safe assets, safety trap, risk aversion, disinflation, exchange rates, interest rates, liquidity trap, zero lower bound, monetary policy, public debt, Eurozone crisis, Central Banks, ECB, quantitative easing, long-term refinancing operations, unconventional monetary policy, liquidity, asset-backed securities, securitisation, debt sustainability, fiscal space, fiscal capacity, balance sheets

Causes of the G7 fixed investment doldrums

Kristina Morkunaite, Felix Huefner 27 November 2014

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Investment has been disappointing in recent years

Growth in mature economies has consistently disappointed in the years following the Global Crisis, and forecasts are regularly being revised downwards – just recently again by the IMF. An important part of the sluggish recovery in mature economies has been weak fixed investment. Total investment relative to GDP in the G7 economies stood at 19.3% in 2013 – a decline of 2.6 percentage points relative to 2007.

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Topics:  Global crisis Global economy

Tags:  global crisis, investment, secular stagnation, monetary policy, interest rates

Labour shares, inequality, and the relative price of capital

Loukas Karabarbounis, Brent Neiman 25 November 2014

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At least since Kaldor (1961), the constancy of the labour share of income has been considered one of the key foundations underlying macroeconomic models. In Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014a), we documented a global decline in the share of labour compensation in gross income (‘gross labour share’) since 1975 and emphasised the role of declining investment prices for this trend. Piketty (2014) and Piketty and Zucman (2014) also discussed this factor share movement and linked it to increases in the capital–output ratio.

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Topics:  Global economy Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  capital, labour, labour share, Inequality, income inequality, wealth inequality, depreciation, interest rates

Demography and economics: Look past the past

Charles A.E. Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth 04 November 2014

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Introduction

Our history is our database. When seeking to peer dimly into the future, our normal response is to examine what happened in (similar) past episodes and then to extrapolate those outcomes into the future. This assumption, that the future will mimic the past, is hard-wired into almost all our forecasting exercises, from the most simple to the econometrically and technically most complex.

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Topics:  Global economy Labour markets

Tags:  forecasting, demographics, Ageing, fertility, globalisation, savings, consumption, life cycle, old age, healthcare, Retirement, investment, interest rates, labour productivity, technology, technology transfer

Monetary policy and long-term trends

Charles A.E. Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth 03 November 2014

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Introduction

There has been a long-term downward trend in the share and strength of labour in national income, which is depressing both demand and inflation. This has prompted ever more expansionary monetary policies. While understandable, indeed appropriate, within a short-term business cycle context, this has exacerbated longer-term trends, increasing inequality and financial distortions. Perhaps the most fundamental problem has been over-reliance on debt finance (leverage).

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Topics:  Financial markets Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  monetary policy, Inequality, debt, leverage, wages, labour share, globalisation, consumption, propensity to consume, fiscal policy, Ageing, interest rates, investment, asset prices, housing, house prices, exchange rates, global crisis, mortgages, sub-prime crisis, Macroprudential policy, structural reforms, balance sheets, deleveraging, equity, shared-equity mortgages, Help to Buy

The impact of the maturity of US government debt on forward rates and the term premium: New results from old data

Jagjit Chadha 02 November 2014

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Revisiting the supply effect

The question of the impact of the stock and maturity of net government debt on longer-term US Treasury yields, and the potential implications for central bank balance sheet policies, matters for monetary policy.

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Topics:  Financial markets Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  public debt, yield curve, debt maturity, term premia, interest rates, open market operations, monetary policy, QE, US, Federal Reserve, market segmentation, Greenspan Conundrum, debt management, fiscal policy, unconventional monetary policy

“Mensch tracht, und Gott lacht” – what’s the best guidance on monetary policy?

David Miles 22 October 2014

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“Mensch tracht, und Gott lacht” is a Yiddish proverb – men plan and God laughs. Woody Allen puts the same thought this way: “If you want to make God laugh tell him about your plans”. Some people might see these words as a fitting epitaph for forward guidance on monetary policy. The Bank of England has certainly faced a good deal of criticism for the guidance that it has recently been giving, as has the Federal Reserve in the US.

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Topics:  Monetary policy

Tags:  forward guidance, unconventional monetary policy, monetary policy, Central Banks, central bank communication, interest rates, uncertainty

Quantifying the macroeconomic effects of large-scale asset purchases

Karl Walentin 11 September 2014

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Central banks have used various unconventional monetary policy tools since the onset of the financial crisis yet the debate continues regarding their efficiency. This column attempts to shed light on the ‘bang for the buck’, or the macroeconomic effects, of one such unconventional monetary policy – the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities employed during the Fed’s QE1 and QE3 programs.

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Topics:  Global crisis Monetary policy

Tags:  monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy, large-scale asset purchases, central banking, financial crisis, Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, mortgage-backed securities, term premia, zero lower bound, interest rates, US, UK, Sweden, mortgages, global crisis

The role of corporate saving in global rebalancing

Philippe Bacchetta, Kenza Benhima 24 August 2014

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The increase in global imbalances in the last decade posed a theoretical challenge for international macroeconomics. Why did some less-developed countries with a higher need for capital, like China, lend to richer countries? The inconsistency of standard open-economy dynamic models with actual global capital flows had already been stressed before (e.g. by Lucas 1990), but the sensitivity to this issue became more acute with increasing global imbalances. This stimulated the development of several alternative theoretical frameworks.

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Topics:  International finance International trade

Tags:  interest rates, global imbalances, capital flows, saving, global crisis, credit constraints, savings glut, zero lower bound, corporate saving, global rebalancing

Secular stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures – a new Vox eBook

Coen Teulings, Richard Baldwin 10 September 2014

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Teaser from original column posted on 15 August 2014

Six years after the Crisis and the recovery is still anaemic despite years of zero interest rates. Is ‘secular stagnation’ to blame? This column introduces an eBook that gathers the views of leading economists including Summers, Krugman, Gordon, Blanchard, Koo, Eichengreen, Caballero, Glaeser, and a dozen others. It is too early to tell whether secular stagnation is really secular, but if it is, current policy tools will be obsolete. Policymakers should start thinking about potential solutions.

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  interest rates, US, Europe, Japan, investment, macroeconomics, Great Recession, zero lower bound, savings, secular stagnation, SecStag debate

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