Macroeconomic policy

Steven Ongena, Raphael Auer, 14 January 2020

Targeted macroprudential policies may spill across sectors, but this does not mean that they are ineffective. This column shows how the effects of a countercyclical capital buffer designed to curb house price growth in Switzerland spilled over into commercial lending. But a model that matches the uncovered spillovers in volumes and interest rates shows that they by no means undermine the rationale for focusing policy measures on specific sectors. On the contrary, it suggests that regulators can avail themselves of this new tool to increase the overall resilience of banks

Alan Auerbach, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Daniel Murphy, 18 December 2019

Despite decades of research, there still is no consensus over whether neoclassical, New Keynesian, or other frameworks accurately capture the underlying sources and mechanisms of economic fluctuations. The column uses new empirical data on demand shocks to evaluate the predictions of these models for labour share, labour wedge, wage and price response, and multipliers. Each model tends to do well by some metrics but poorly by others.

Xavier Debrun, Jonathan D. Ostry, Tim Willems, Charles Wyplosz, 09 December 2019

Knowing whether public debt is sustainable is as critical for economists analysing fiscal policy as for practitioners tasked with charting desirable policy paths. However, because sustainability is intimately related to the government’s ability to honour all its current and future obligations, it is purely forward-looking and assessing it amounts to making a prediction about an unknowable future. This column fleshes out three principles guiding the design and implementation of sound debt sustainability frameworks: relevance, simplicity and transparency.

Paweł Kopiec, 06 December 2019

Research shows that individual spending behaviour is heterogeneous across households and that it depends on characteristics such as income and wealth. Using Italian data, this column shows that household heterogeneity plays a crucial role in the propagation of fiscal expenditure shocks. Household inequality gives rise to a rich set of new channels that propagate government expenditures shocks through consumer spending, which are related to households’ balance sheets and monetary-fiscal interactions. The values of the fiscal multiplier diverge from those predicted by the standard macroeconomic framework and the difference is particularly large at the zero lower bound.

Jiri Slacalek, 05 December 2019

Many economic models assume that households have up-to-date information. This column relaxes this assumption to see how this affects consumption at the household and aggregate level. A model that assumes that households only occasionally update their information about macroeconomic quantities better fits the micro and macro data, and can explain the fact that consumption reacts little to the announcement of a fiscal stimulus but substantially to the actual receipt of a stimulus payment.

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