Giuseppe Ferrero, Mario Pietrunti, Andrea Tiseno, 21 March 2019

Dealing with uncertainty about the state of the economy is one of the main challenges facing monetary policymakers. In recent years there has been an extensive debate on the value of some of the deep parameters driving the economy, such as the natural rate of interest and the slope of the Phillips curve, estimates of which are quite uncertain. This column argues that when facing uncertainty on the structural relationship among macroeconomic variables, central banks should adopt a pragmatic and data-dependent approach to adjusting their monetary policy stance. 

Adam Elbourne, Kan Ji, Bert Smid, 13 March 2019

Previous research has shown that changes to the size of the ECB’s balance sheet were followed by meaningful changes in macroeconomic aggregates. This column argues that the econometric technique these studies employed does not provide reliable estimates. Impulse responses to purported balance sheet shocks are statistically indistinguishable from those from nonsensical identification schemes. The effectiveness of the ECB’s balance sheet policies is therefore still unproven.

Ester Faia, Vincenzo Pezone, 12 March 2019

Policymakers are concerned about effecting real change with monetary policy, particularly in the context of wage rigidity. This column uses extensive Italian data to analyse the extent to which wage rigidity induced by collective bargaining amplifies the effects of monetary policy. The volatility of stock market returns reacts more to monetary policy announcements when the average time left before the renewal of the employees’ collective agreement is large.

Marcin Bielecki, Michał Brzoza-Brzezina, Marcin Kolasa, 05 March 2019

Population ageing is likely to affect many areas of life, from pension system sustainability to housing markets. This column shows that monetary policy can be considered another victim. Low fertility rates and increasing life expectancy substantially lower the natural rate of interest. As a consequence, central banks are more likely to hit the lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate and face long periods of low inflation, especially if they fail to account for the impact of demographic trends on the natural interest rate in real time.

Carlo Altavilla, Wolfgang Lemke, Roberto Motto, Natacha Valla, 28 February 2019

The ECB Conference on Monetary Policy took place in Frankfurt from 29 to 30 October 2018. This column describes presentations on topics including the interaction of monetary policy and financial markets, the relevance of banks and credit flows for monetary policy transmission, and the current challenges for monetary policy frameworks and strategies. The conference provided a forum for academic research and the practice of central banking to meet. 

Maik Schmeling, Christian Wagner, 22 February 2019

According to Ben Bernanke, “monetary policy is 98% talk and 2% action”.Using data on policy rate announcements and press conferences by the ECB between 1999 and 2017, this column shows that central bank tone affects asset prices, even after controlling for policy actions and economic fundamentals. The results are consistent with the idea that communication tone is a monetary policy tool that allows central banks to affect the risk appetite of market participants and the risk premia they require.

Ashoka Mody, Milan Nedeljkovic, 14 January 2019

The ECB’s actions in the wake of the Global Crisis have been described as hesitant, relative to other central banks. Based on analysis of financial markets' response to the ECB's interventions during the euro crisis, this column argues that central bank interventions are effective if they clearly signal a commitment to reinvigorating the economy and if they address the source rather than the symptom of financial stress. The ECB did not follow these principles, limiting its ability to improve financial market sentiment. 

Wei Cui, Vincent Sterk, 09 January 2019

The effects of quantitative easing are poorly understood, in part because standard models of monetary policy predict that it doesn't work. This column uses a model in which households can be unequal and hold assets with different degrees of liquidity to show that quantitative easing can provide a powerful stimulus to the macroeconomy, and that it avoided a large decline in output and inflation during 2009. Nevertheless, side-effects on inequality mean that social welfare tends to be lower under quantitative easing than under conventional policy.

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Submissions are sought on the following themes:
• Digital currencies, fintech, and technology
• Regulation, markets, and financial intermediation
• International economics
• Macroeconomics, monetary policy, macrofinance, monetary policy frameworks, and communication
• Inflation dynamics
• Policy lessons from the history of finance and central banking
The deadline for submissions is Saturday, February 2nd.
The meeting commences on Thursday, July 18 at the FRB New York, featuring presentations by Nellie Liang and Jeremy C. Stein, and John C. Williams.
The 31 contributed sessions take place on Friday and Saturday, July 19-20 at the Kellogg Center, SIPA, Columbia University. Contributed sessions are organized by BIS, FSB, IMF, SNB, FRB St. Louis, Bank of Israel, FRB Cleveland, ECB, Riksbank, FRB San Francisco, Norges Bank, Bank of Spain, Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, Bank of Korea, OeNB, FRB Minneapolis, Bundesbank, Central Bank of Ireland, SAFE, CEPR, ABFER, and IBRN.

James Hamilton, 12 October 2018

Quantitative easing policies have been used widely over the past decade. This column explores how markets responded to the announcements surrounding the three phases of the Fed’s quantitative easing operations. It also discusses a basic identification problem with high-frequency event studies, namely, that they cannot resolve whether the announcement mattered because it conveyed information about monetary policy or about economic fundamentals. 

Linda Schilling, Harald Uhlig, 11 October 2018

The Bank for International Settlements has attributed the volatility of the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to the lack of a crypto central bank. This column examines the implications of this and the increasing, but bounded, supply of Bitcoin for the cryptocurrency’s price. It also discusses how the price of Bitcoin interacts with monetary policy for traditional currencies.

Peter Karadi, Marek Jarociński, 03 October 2018

Central bank announcements simultaneously convey information about monetary policy and the economic outlook. This column uses changes in interest rate expectations and stock prices around the time of policy announcements of the Federal Reserve to disentangle the impact of news about monetary policy from that of news about the economic outlook. It finds that both pieces of information play a significant role in the dynamics of inflation and economic growth. Controlling for news about the economy provides a more accurate measure of the transmission of monetary policy.

Jose A. Lopez, Andrew Rose, Mark Spiegel, 02 October 2018

Many countries have now adopted negative nominal interest rates. The column uses data on 5,000 banks affected by this policy to conclude that, while their net income has not fallen, strategies to increase non-interest income are unlikely to be sustainable. Therefore we cannot assume that bank performance and lending will carry on at current levels over extended periods of negative policy rates.

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, 12 September 2018

Financial policy is determined in multiple domains by separate government authorities. This column explores the hierarchical ranking of these domains and authorities. On top is the authority in charge of fiscal policy, followed by those running monetary, microprudential, and finally macroprudential policies. This ranking can cause conflicts in terms of policy effectiveness and legitimacy.

Andreas Neuhierl, Michael Weber, 31 August 2018

Equity markets are known to move in a predictable manner immediately after policy decisions. This column provides evidence of large predictable movements in stock prices 25 days before policy actions in the US. The shocks continue for another 15 days, and average 4.5%. It suggests monetary policy shocks might not be shocks after all, and that we might be underestimating the effect of monetary policy on asset prices and real consumption.

Michael Bordo, Klodiana Istrefi, 20 August 2018

US presidents can influence monetary policy through the appointment process of the Federal Open Market Committee members. This column examines the policy preferences of Committee members in relation to the ideology of their appointers. Democratic Board nominees have been mostly perceived to be doves, while the shares of both hawks and doves (as opposed to swingers) appears higher for Republican nominees. In contrast, a high share of hawks among Federal Reserve Bank presidents, who are appointed by their bank’s board of directors, is observed irrespective of the president’s party.

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Matthieu Bussière, Pauline Wibaux, 16 August 2018

Recent events on the international stage have reignited the debate on trade and currency wars. This column compares two forms of non-cooperative policies – import tariffs and currency devaluations – within a single framework. The results show that tariffs and devaluations do not have equivalent effects on trade flows. A 1% depreciation of the importer's currency reduces imports by around 0.5% in current dollars, whereas an increase in import tariffs by 1 percentage point reduces imports by around 1.4%.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 25 July 2018

Antoine Levy, 22 July 2018

The euro improved the credibility of monetary policy for many member states, but the downsides of not having monetary autonomy became painfully apparent during the European debt crisis. This column proposes ‘targeted inflation targeting’ as a way to improve stabilisation mechanisms in the euro area, without losing the benefits of integration. The ECB would maintain a rules-based approach that targets countries in a weaker macroeconomic position more aggressively.

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