The evolving effectiveness of UK’s monetary policy
Colin Ellis, Haroon Mumtaz, Pawel Zabczyk 06 August 2014
This column reports on empirical evidence showing that monetary policy shocks in the UK had a bigger impact on inflation, equity prices, and the exchange rate during the inflation targeting period. Related changes in the transmission of policy shocks to bond yields point to more efficient management of long run inflation expectations.
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.
Europe's nations and regions Monetary policy
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
How should UK policy-makers respond to potential dangers to the economy from the housing market? As this column reports, a majority of respondents to the fourth monthly survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) think that house price dynamics do pose a risk to the UK’s recovery; and that macroprudential tools rather than traditional interest rate policy should be deployed to deal with this risk.
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.
UK, housing market, Macroprudential policy
Revisiting the pain in Spain
Paul De Grauwe 07 July 2014
There has been a stark contrast between the experiences of Spain and the UK since the Global Crisis. This column argues that although the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions policy has been instrumental in reducing Spanish government bond yields, it has not made the Spanish fiscal position sustainable. Although the UK has implemented less austerity than Spain since the start of the crisis, a large currency depreciation has helped to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio
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).
Europe's nations and regions Global crisis Macroeconomic policy
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
The fall in productivity in the UK following the Great Recession was particularly bad, whereas the hit to jobs was less severe. This column discusses recent research exploring this puzzle. Although the mystery has not been fully solved, an important part of the explanation lies in the flexibility of wages combined with very low investment.
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
Europe's nations and regions
unemployment, productivity growth, UK, Great Recession
Why monetary policy matters: New UK narrative evidence
James Cloyne, Patrick Hürtgen 15 May 2014
The effects of interest-rate changes on output and inflation could be much larger than previously thought. Such evidence was suggested by Romer and Romer in their analysis of the US. This column provides similar estimates for the UK based on a novel real-time dataset. In response to a 1% increase in the interest rate, output declines by 0.6% and inflation falls by one percentage point after two to three years.
In recent decades, central banks around the world have predominantly used interest rates as their main monetary policy instrument. And while the zero lower bound has necessitated a range of unconventional monetary policies, many central banks clearly still intend to use interest rates as their preferred tool as their economies recover. A range of empirical estimates have emerged from the academic literature over several decades putting the effect on prices and output of a one percentage point increase in interest rates between 0.5% and 1%.
monetary policy, UK, interest rates changes
Falling real wages in the UK
David Blanchflower, Stephen Machin 12 May 2014
The pain of the UK’s Great Recession has been spread more evenly than previous downturns, with falling real wages across the distribution. This column asks why this happened, how it compares with the US experience, and what the prospects are for recovering lost wage gains.
There have been unprecedented falls in real wages in the UK since the start of the recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2008. This did not happen in previous economic downturns – median real wage growth slowed down or stalled, but it did not fall. Indeed, in past recessions, almost all workers in both the lowest and highest deciles of the wage distribution experienced growing real wages. It was the unemployed who experienced almost all the pain – they lost their jobs and much of their incomes, and many were unemployed for a long time.
Labour markets Poverty and income inequality
US, unemployment, wages, Inequality, UK, Great Recession, real wages
Tackling long-term unemployment: The research evidence
Barbara Petrongolo 27 April 2014
Long-term unemployment in the UK increased substantially after the recent recession. Many policy interventions have attempted to address this problem. The UK’s long-term unemployed face tougher requirements in return for their benefits – community work, training programmes, or daily visits to the Jobcentre. This column tries to assess the likely success of the UK government’s strategy by surveying the effectiveness of the ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ of active labour market policies.
During the Great Recession, UK unemployment increased from about 5% to 8%, with a disproportionate increase in the number of long-term unemployed. Of the nearly 2.5 million people who are currently unemployed, more than a third have been out of work for over 12 months (up from a fifth at the start of the recession), and a fifth have been out of work for over two years. The rising incidence of long-term unemployment is a distinctive feature of virtually all recessions, as job-finding rates tend to remain persistently low even after the first signs of a recovery.
Global crisis Labour markets
recession, UK, long-term unemployment
UK macroeconomists see potential for higher growth: results of the first Centre for Macroeconomics survey
Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan 14 April 2014
Fears that the financial crisis will have a significant negative impact on long-term UK economic growth are unfounded, according to a majority of the UK macroeconomics profession surveyed by the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM). What’s more, the inaugural CFM survey, summarised in this column, indicates some optimism about the UK’s immediate capacity for higher growth: while roughly half of the respondents share the views of the Office of Budget Responsibility, the other half is substantially more optimistic about the capacity for the economy to recover.
The Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) – a partnership between the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL), the Bank of England and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) – is today publishing the results of a new monthly survey to inform the public about the views held by leading UK based macroeconomists on important questions about macroeconomics and public policy.1 The survey will shed light on the extent to which there is agreement or disagreement on these questions among our panel o
Europe's nations and regions Global crisis
economic growth, UK, output gap
Say on pay in the UK: Modest effect, even after the crisis
Ian Gregory-Smith, Steve Thompson, Peter Wright 24 March 2014
In 2003, the UK adopted a ‘say on pay’ policy, whereby quoted companies’ executive compensation offers have to be put to a shareholder vote. This column presents evidence that this policy has had a relatively modest impact on executive pay. A 10% increase in compensation is associated with an increase in shareholder dissent against the proposal of just 0.2%. However, remuneration committees representing the more highly rewarded CEOs are quite sensitive to dissent, provided it exceeds a critical threshold of about 10%. Shareholders do not appear more anxious about pay since the crisis.
The extensive academic literature on the growth of executive compensation has tended to polarise around one of two positions: the rents-capture view and the optimal contracting approach. These analyses lead to very different positions on the value of a ‘say on pay’ policy:
Frontiers of economic research Labour markets Microeconomic regulation Poverty and income inequality
voting, UK, executive pay, corporate governance, Executive compensation
What can company data tell us about financing and investment decisions?
Katie Farrant, Magda Rutkowska, Konstantinos Theodoridis 09 February 2014
The investment decline in the UK that has followed after the recent crisis is hardly a surprise. What is baffling is that at the same time, corporate bond issuance has remained strong. This column discusses this puzzling pattern and provides possible explanations for it. Heterogeneity among companies is one possible argument, where firms with capital market access invest, and those without – do not. However, evidence from 2012 shows that investment across companies with capital fell as well. Thus, other factors – such as the increased financial uncertainty – could play a role in the investment decisions of companies.
Following the financial crisis, UK companies revised their spending and financing decisions dramatically. They reduced investment by around 13% in real terms between 2008 and 2012 (Besley and Van Reenen 2013, Haddow et al. 2013). But during that same period, corporate bond issuance by UK companies was strong, with record corporate bond issuance in 2012. Taken at face value, this might appear puzzling, as one might expect strong bond issuance to feed into stronger investment.
Financial markets Global crisis
UK, investment decline, corporate bond issuance