Macroeconomic policy

Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji, 14 October 2019

With an economic slowdown looming in the euro area, how should fiscal policies respond? This column uses a behavioural macroeconomic framework to investigate the trade-offs between stabilising output and public debt. It proposes that, when the interest rate is lower than the growth rate of the economy, fiscal policy can be used as a tool for output stabilisation while keeping public debt stable. It argues that many EU countries have the fiscal space to stimulate their economies, which could help in preventing a recession.

Philippe Andrade, Jordi Galí, Hervé Le Bihan, Julien Matheron, 01 October 2019

How to adjust to structurally lower real natural rates of interest is a challenging but inescapable issue for central bankers. Using simulation and US data, this column studies how changes in the steady-state natural interest rate affect the optimal inflation target. It finds that starting from pre-crisis values, a 1 percentage point decline in the natural rate should be accommodated by an increase in the optimal inflation target of about 0.9 to 1 percentage point. It also discusses alternatives to adjusting the target, such as non-conventional monetary policies. 

Marcin Bielecki, Michał Brzoza-Brzezina, Marcin Kolasa, Krzysztof Makarski, 18 September 2019

The boom-bust cycle in the euro area periphery has almost toppled the euro. This column suggests that region-specific macroprudential policy could have substantially smoothed the credit cycle in the periphery and reduced the build-up of external imbalances. In contrast, common monetary policy could have stabilised output in both the periphery and the core slightly better, but it would have been incapable of significantly influencing either housing markets or the periphery’s trade balance. The column also offers policy guidelines in case internal imbalances should arise again in the euro area. 

Christoph Boehm, 07 September 2019

Fiscal stimulus packages typically feature large investment in infrastructure. The column argues that the fiscal multiplier associated with government investment during the Great Recession was near zero. Meanwhile, the government consumption multiplier was around 0.8. Estimates of the multiplier for total government purchases do not distinguish these two effects, which may affect their validity.

Alex Cukierman, 06 September 2019

Individuals are never fully certain whether economic developments are persistent or temporary. This column shows that this permanent-transitory confusion has pervasive implications. It argues that the confusion injects the past into even purely forward-looking New-Keynesian frameworks, and shows empirically that inflationary forecasts indeed rely on past inflation.

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