Masayuki Morikawa, 06 July 2017

Given the early stages of diffusion of many AI and robotic technologies, it is too early to measure the impact of these innovations on jobs. This column uses comprehensive survey data from Japan to measure the extent to which workers across different industries, levels of education, and occupations perceive their jobs to be at risk. Workers with adaptable skills acquired through higher education (particularly in science and engineering) or occupation-specific skills (particularly those in human-intensive personal services) are less worried about their jobs being replaced by AI and robotics.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 07 December 2016

The Bank of Japan has recently implemented one of the largest central bank policy shifts in modern times, raising its inflation target explicitly to 2% and kicking off the most rapid balance sheet expansion among the leading central banks. This column assesses this policy decision and its potential pitfalls, and compares it to similar policies enacted in the past. Unless policy has a significantly larger impact on financial conditions going forward than it has to date, the revised framework will likely be insufficient to achieve the Bank’s inflation target any time soon.

Julian Kozlowski, Laura Veldkamp, Venky Venkateswaran, 11 September 2016

The Great Recession has had long-lasting effects on credit markets, employment, and output. This column combines a model with macroeconomic data to measure how the recession has changed beliefs about the possibility of future crises. According to the model, the estimated change in sentiment correlates with economic activity. A short-lived financial crisis can trigger long-lived shifts in expectations, which in turn can trigger secular stagnation.

Maria Demertzis, Nicola Viegi, 28 June 2016

Both the Fed and the ECB have managed to remain credible since the Global Crisis, but their credibility levels have evolved differently. This column argues that since inflation in the US and the Eurozone has been similar in the past eight years, the difference in the way that credibility has evolved is the result of the different macroeconomic policy mixes applied.

Stefan Trautmann, Gijs van de Kuilen, 24 April 2016

Expectations about uncertain events play an important role in both science and policy, so it is important to be able to elicit people’s expectations in surveys. This column discusses the use of more complex approaches to revelation of expectations than the widely used ‘just ask’ approach. Though complex methods have clear benefits, the costs are not negligible and should be taken into account.

Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon, 03 February 2016

In addition to setting interest rates, central banks also communicate with the public about economic conditions and future actions. While it has been established that communication can drive expectations, less is known about how it does so. This column attempts to shed light on this question. Applying novel measures to the content of Federal Reserve statements, it shows that forward guidance is a more important driver of market variables than disclosure of information about economic conditions.

Carin van der Cruijsen, David-Jan Jansen, Jakob de Haan, 23 August 2015

Central banks have typically targeted their communication at financial markets. Increasingly, however, many have started actively communicating with the general public. Using Dutch survey data, this column finds that the public’s knowledge of monetary policy objectives is far from perfect, and varies widely across respondents. Those with a greater understanding of ECB objectives tend to form more realistic inflation expectations. Central banks seeking to target the general public must take account of discrepancies in households’ knowledge of and interest in monetary policy.

Laurence Ball, Sandeep Mazumder, 07 January 2015

Researchers have put forward two explanations for the failure of the US inflation rate to fall as far during the Great Recession as the Phillips curve would predict. Either expectations have been successfully anchored by the Fed’s inflation target, or the Phillips curve is focusing on the wrong thing – aggregate unemployment instead of short-term unemployment. This column shows that the two explanations are complementary; together, they explain the puzzle, but separately they cannot.

Philippe Andrade, Richard Crump, Stefano Eusepi, Emanuel Moench, 23 December 2014

Expectations are critical for macroeconomics and financial markets. But the expectation-formation process is not well understood. This column discusses some empirical characteristics of forecast disagreement from professional forecasters in the US, and discusses the ‘information frictions’ that underlie the heterogeneity of expectations.

Christiane Baumeister, Lutz Kilian, 19 November 2014

Futures prices are a potentially valuable source of information about market expectations of asset prices. This column discusses a general approach to recovering this expectation when there is no agreement on the nature of the time-varying risk premium contained in futures prices. The authors illustrate this approach by tackling the long-standing problem of how to recover the market expectation of the price of crude oil.

Alberto Cavallo, Guillermo Crucas, Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 10 November 2014

Although central banks have a natural desire to influence household inflation expectations, there is no consensus on how these expectations are formed or the best ways to influence them. This column presents evidence from a series of survey experiments conducted in a low-inflation context (the US) and a high-inflation context (Argentina). The authors find that dispersion in household expectations can be explained by the cost of acquiring and interpreting inflation statistics, and by the use of inaccurate memories about price changes of specific products. They also provide recommendations for central bank communication strategies. 

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.

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 15 November 2013

During the Great Recession, advanced economies have not experienced the disinflation that has historically been associated with high unemployment. This column shows that using consumers’ (as opposed to forecasters’) inflation expectations restores the traditional Phillips curve relationship for recent years. Consumers’ inflation expectations are more responsive to oil prices than those of professional forecasters. The increase in oil prices between 2009 and 2012 may in fact have prevented the onset of pernicious deflationary dynamics.

Markus Brückner, Evi Pappa, 16 September 2011

Does hosting the Olympic Games provide the economic benefits that so many politicians proclaim? This column argues that hosting the Games raises the expectations of future output and in doing so promotes investment, consumption, and overall activity. It suggests that the Olympic Games can be seen as having a positive anticipation effect on the aggregate economy.

Shannon Mudd, Konstantin Pashev, Neven Valev, 02 January 2011

The systemic and macroeconomic issues associated with a banking crisis are much in the news. This column focuses on the impact on individuals, particularly those who experienced losses, and presents evidence of effects on their expectations and behaviour lasting a decade or more.

Luis Viceira, John Campbell, Adi Sunderam, 27 October 2010

The historically low yields on Treasury bonds are the hallmark of a bubble, according to some commentators. This column analyses the relationship between bond yields, the stock market, and inflation over the past 50 years. It finds that the riskiness of nominal bonds changes over time and that investors and policymakers can use the changing stock-bond correlation as a real-time measure of inflation expectations.

Olivier Blanchard, Marianna Riggi, 07 December 2009

In the 1970s, large increases in the price of oil were associated with sharp decreases in output and large increases in inflation. In the 2000s, even larger increases in the price of oil were associated with much milder movements. This column attributes the difference in the US to more flexible labour markets and more credible monetary policy during the Great Moderation.

Jakob de Haan, Jan-Egbert Sturm, 27 June 2009

Should informed observers pay attention to the ECB President? This column says it is worthwhile for financial market participants to read the ECB President’s lips, as this adds information about upcoming interest rate decisions that is not provided by expected inflation and expected output growth.

Micael Castanheira, 14 October 2008

Fears that the present crisis might reach 1930s proportions risk becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. To quell them, we must anchor expectations in the right direction. This column advocates a temporary but aggressive expansionary fiscal policy to rebuild confidence. We need to exploit the stability pact in a different way: for the next two years, the pact should constrain national governments to significantly increase all deficits, beyond 3% if needed.

Tommaso Monacelli, 20 March 2008

Inflation is rising. This column identifies three sources of inflation and argues that it is very important for central banks to tame inflation now, before we face a vicious cycle of rising inflation and expected inflation.