Trying to glimpse the ‘grey economy’

Charles A.E. Goodhart, Jonathan Ashworth 08 October 2014

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It is a remarkable fact that the ratio of currency to GDP in the UK has been rising, despite the greater use of card and online payments (see Figure 1). The currency-to-GDP ratio now stands at 16.1%, compared to 13.3% in Q4 2007. Currency in circulation per adult person is now equal to around £1,300 in the UK. In some other equivalent cases – e.g. holdings of US dollars, euros, and Swiss francs – this might be because more currency is being hoarded abroad, but this is not likely to be the case for the UK. So what is fuelling this rise in currency usage, if not the grey economy?

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Frontiers of economic research Global crisis

Tags:  global crisis, underground economy, shadow economy, hidden economy, grey economy, black economy, measurement, Currency, UK, tax evasion, GDP, GDP measurement, national accounts

Real wages continue to fall in the UK

David Blanchflower, Stephen Machin 29 September 2014

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Real wages continue to fall in the UK and elsewhere (Jowett et al. 2014). Yet this striking feature of the labour market still fails to register properly with some commentators. On 9 September 2014, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, gave a speech at the 146th annual Trades Union Congress in Liverpool, where he argued as follows:

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Labour markets Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  wages, UK, productivity, unions, union membership

Finance sector wages: explaining their high level and growth

Joanne Lindley, Steven McIntosh 21 September 2014

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Individuals who work in the finance sector enjoy a significant wage advantage. This wage premium has received increasing attention from researchers following the financial crisis, with focus being put onto wages at the top of the distribution in general, and finance sector wages in particular (see Bell and Van Reenen 2010, 2013 for discussion in the UK context). Policymakers have also targeted this wage premium, with the recent implementation of the Capital Requirements Directive capping bankers’ bonuses at a maximum of one year of salary from 2014.

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Topics:  Financial markets Microeconomic regulation

Tags:  Bankers’ bonuses, banking, wages, Inequality, UK, regulation, asymmetric information, Executive compensation, Finance, task-biased technological change, ICT

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

To exit the Great Recession, central banks must adapt their policies and models

Marcus Miller, Lei Zhang 10 September 2014

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“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:

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  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 impact of capital requirements on bank lending

Jonathan Bridges, David Gregory, Mette Nielsen, Silvia Pezzini, Amar Radia, Marco Spaltro 02 September 2014

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The financial crisis has led to widespread support for greater use of time-varying capital requirements on banks as a macroprudential policy tool (see for example Yellen 2010 and Hanson et al. 2011). Policymakers aim to use these tools to enhance the resilience of the financial system, and, potentially, to curb the credit cycle. Under Basel III, national regulatory authorities will be tasked with setting countercyclical capital buffers over the economic cycle.

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Topics:  Financial markets

Tags:  Macroprudential policy, capital requirements, regulation, bank regulation, BASEL III, Bank of England, financial crisis, bank lending, UK

The evolving effectiveness of UK’s monetary policy

Colin Ellis, Haroon Mumtaz, Pawel Zabczyk 06 August 2014

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Over the past five decades, major industrialised economies underwent deep structural changes. These typically included dramatic shifts in macroeconomic policy and globalisation-induced changes in competition, technological advances, and financial innovation. This raises several concerns for policymakers, including whether the channels through which monetary policy affects the economy have changed over time, and what that might mean for how policy should be conducted.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Monetary policy

Tags:  inflation targeting, UK, policy shocks

It’s time to deploy macroprudential policy: results from the Centre for Macroeconomics July Survey

Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan 08 July 2014

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The Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) – an ESRC-funded research centre including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL) and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) – is today publishing the results of its fourth monthly survey.1 The surveys are designed to inform the public about the views held by leading UK-based macroeconomists on important questions about macroeconomics and public policy.

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  UK, housing market, Macroprudential policy

Revisiting the pain in Spain

Paul De Grauwe 07 July 2014

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The different macroeconomic adjustment dynamics in Spain – a member of a monetary union – and the UK – a stand-alone country – is stark. Paul Krugman popularised this contrast in his New York Times blog with the title “The Pain in Spain” (Krugman 2009, 2011), and commented on my own analysis in De Grauwe (2011).

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Global crisis Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  ECB, monetary policy, euro, EMU, Spain, monetary union, fiscal policy, UK, government debt, austerity, EZ crisis, Outright Monetary Transactions, currency depreciation

The great British jobs and productivity mystery

João Paulo Pessoa, John Van Reenen 28 June 2014

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With some economic recovery having finally got underway, the UK is still feeling the repercussions of the so-called ‘Great Recession’. National output, as measured by GDP, fell by over 7% from its peak in January 2008 – the biggest fall since the inter-war years – and only returned to its pre-crisis level in April 2014 (NIESR 2014). This has been the slowest recovery in this century (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The profile of recession and recovery

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  unemployment, productivity growth, UK, Great Recession

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