Lucrezia Reichlin, Dirk Schoenmaker, 26 March 2020

Fiscal and monetary policy coordination is not working in the euro area. This column argues that in order to rebalance the weight of both during major crises, the asymmetry between decision making at the ECB (by majority voting) and the ESM (by unanimity or qualified majority) must be harmonised. This is urgent since the ESM is the only instrument available to provide the common fiscal capacity needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arnoud Boot, Elena Carletti, Rainer Haselmann, Hans‐Helmut Kotz, Jan Pieter Krahnen, Loriana Pelizzon, Stephen Schaefer, Marti Subrahmanyam, 24 March 2020

Francesco Giavazzi, Guido Tabellini, 24 March 2020

This war-like shock will require very large fiscal support. Its financing cost should be distributed over several generations. This can be achieved by issuing irredeemable or very long maturity Eurobonds. They should be backed by the ECB to keep the financing burden low. This column argues that no institutional or legal constraints prevent this policy response. Prompt action is critical since allowing one crisis to morph into many could disrupt the European project, with far-reaching and unpredictable political implications. 

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Ramon Marimon, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Lucrezia Reichlin, Dirk Schoenmaker, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 11 March 2020

The unfolding coronavirus epidemic represents a severe economic stress test for Europe as well as a test of European unity. This column discusses how the crisis might unfold and the appropriate policy response. It advocates a comprehensive emergency package through which the EU would take responsibility for a meaningful share of the overall emergency effort.

Gabriele Cozzi, Matthieu Darracq Pariès, Peter Karadi, Jenny Körner, Christoffer Kok, Falk Mazelis, Kalin Nikolov, Elena Rancoita, Alejandro Van der Ghote, Julien Weber, 03 March 2020

Following the financial crisis, central banks and regulatory authorities assumed new powers to set macroprudential bank capital requirements. This column describes a number of macro models used by the ECB to measure the real impact of capital requirements and their interactions with monetary policy. It warns that a weaker banking system amplifies the impact of monetary policy and contributes to economic instability. Banks’ capital buffers are best augmented during times of affluence, when looser monetary policy can mitigate the costs of increasing capital requirements.

Ugo Albertazzi, Francesca Barbiero, David Marques-Ibanez, Alexander Popov, Costanza Rodriguez d'Acri, Thomas Vlassopoulos, 25 February 2020

The response of major central banks to the Global Crisis has rekindled the debate on the interactions between monetary policy and financial stability. This column reviews empirical evidence on how monetary policy affects bank stability, focusing on unconventional monetary policy measures deployed by the ECB during the crisis. It argues that by stabilising the economy and averting a systemic crisis, these measures helped shore up stability, with the positive effects outweighing the adverse spillovers on banks’ intermediation capacity and risk-taking. However, such measures may need to be complemented with counterbalancing actions that go beyond monetary policy. 

Michael Ehrmann, Marek Jarociński, Christiane Nickel, Chiara Osbat, Andrej Sokol, 05 February 2020

Inflation in advanced economies fell by less than expected in the wake of the financial crisis, while more recently, measures of slack and underlying inflation in the euro area have seen a disconnect. These and other inflation developments since the Global Crisis have surprised policymakers, practitioners, and academics alike. This column outlines the evidence presented at a recent ECB conference which aimed at enhancing collective understanding of the drivers and dynamics of inflation. 

Andrea Zaghini, 30 January 2020

In June 2016, the ECB launched its corporate sector purchase programme, through which it purchased corporate bonds in an effort to improve the financing conditions of euro area firms. This column argues that the programme was successful. In particular, by increasing prices and reducing yields in the targeted bond market segment, it encouraged investors to shift their investments towards similar but somewhat riskier bonds. This reduced borrowing costs for many firms, including those whose bonds were not eligible for direct purchase by the ECB. 

Mariarosaria Comunale, Francesco Paolo Mongelli, 27 January 2020

Over the past 30 years, euro area countries have undergone significant changes and endured diverse shocks. This column assembles a large set of variables covering the years 1990-2016 and investigates possible links to fluctuations and differences in growth rates. The findings suggest a significant positive role for institutional integration in supporting long-run growth, particularly for periphery countries. Competitiveness and monetary policy also matter for sustained growth in the long run, while higher sovereign stress, equity price cycles, loans to non-financial corporations and debt over GDP have either mixed or negative effects in core and periphery countries.

Roel Beetsma, Josha van Spronsen, 24 January 2020

For the last decade, euro area countries have undertaken substantial debt issuances in order to maintain or bolster international capital market access. This column shows that the ECB's unconventional monetary policy dampens yield cycles in secondary markets for euro area sovereign debt around new debt auctions. This dampening effect tends to be larger when market volatility is higher, and this can be used to minimise any instability generated, for example, by different countries’ issuances occurring close together or the spillover effects of one country’s auctions on another. 

Marco Buti, 12 January 2020

In December 2019, Marco Buti left the position of Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission at the end of a rough journey through the crisis and its aftermath. In this column, he draws the main lessons out of five key moments in the crisis for the completion of EMU and the appropriate policy mix in the euro area.

Nuno Cassola, Christoffer Kok, Francesco Paolo Mongelli, 20 December 2019

In 2012, European leaders decided to establish a pan-European supervisory authority at the ECB, and in November 2014 direct banking supervision and an important role in financial stability were added to the monetary policy responsibilities of the central bank. This column examines what this has meant for the organisational structure of the ECB, asking why the decision was made, what the working arrangements of this enlarged ECB are, and what the similarities and synergies among these three functions are.

Felix Roth, Lars Jonung, 13 December 2019

On the 20th anniversary of the euro, this column traces public support for the single currency and public trust in the ECB. The crisis years slightly dented support for the euro while trust in the ECB fell sharply. The recovery increased support for the euro, but while trust in the ECB has also risen, it remains below its pre-crisis levels. Unemployment is the key factor driving public support for the euro as well as trust in the ECB. 

Francesco Corsello, Stefano Neri, Alex Tagliabracci, 05 November 2019

Concerns about the anchoring of long-term inflation expectations to the ECB Governing Council’s aim have re-emerged since early 2019. Using data from the ECB’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, this column argues that long-term inflation expectations have de-anchored from the ECB’s inflation objective. They have not returned to the levels that prevailed before the 2013-14 period of disinflation, and their distribution is still skewed towards lower inflation levels. Moreover, long-term expectations have become sensitive to short-term ones and to negative inflation surprises. 

Thomas Hasenzagl, Filippo Pellegrino, Lucrezia Reichlin, Giovanni Ricco, 16 October 2019

What is happening to inflation and output in the euro area? The ECB has apparently lost the ability to raise inflation and price expectations have been sliding since the last recession. Much of the policy debate has focused on the flattening of the Phillips curve. Yet, as this column shows, estimations of the joint output-inflation process point to a decline of both output potential and trend inflation as the most relevant elements of the puzzle. 

Olli Rehn, 15 October 2019

It has been recently suggested by a group of seasoned central bankers that there has been no danger of a deflationary spiral in the euro area. This column argues instead that the threat of a deflationary spiral was avoided by several reinforcements of the degree of monetary policy accommodation since 2015, and that a key lesson of monetary policy of the last ten years is that timely action is essential to avoid the sort of profoundly harmful equilibrium that might arise from prolonged low inflation and zero interest rates.

Carlo Altavilla, Luca Brugnolini, Refet Gürkaynak, Roberto Motto, Giuseppe Ragusa, 04 October 2019

The newly released Euro Area Monetary Policy Event-Study Database makes available high-resolution data on asset price responses to ECB monetary policy announcements. In this column, the authors – the creators of the dataset – show that market perceptions of ECB policy communication comprise four factors: policy target, timing, forward guidance, and quantitative easing. These factors elicit large and long-lasting market reactions and help explain asset price changes in response to policy maker speeches and other news as well.

Miguel Ampudia, Thorsten Beck, Andreas Beyer, Jean-Edouard Colliard, Agnese Leonello, Angela Maddaloni, David Marques-Ibanez, 20 September 2019

The decade since the Global Crisis has seen notable changes in the architecture of supervision, with separation of responsibility for monetary and financial stability having been reversed in many countries on the one hand, and a move towards more cross-border cooperation between supervisors on the other. This column discusses these two trends in Europe, where responsibility for supervision of the largest banks is housed in the same authority with responsibility for monetary policy, the ECB. It argues that the Single Supervisory Mechanism is a good reflection of the subtle economics of supervisory architecture and the many trade-offs that have to be taken into account.

Philipp Hartmann, Glenn Schepens, 06 November 2019

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the euro, the experiences with EMU so far and crucial factors for its success going forward were at the core of ECB’s 2019 Sintra Forum on Central Banking. In this column two of the organisers highlight some of the main points from the discussions, including the diverse progress with economic convergence and how it may relate to the geographic agglomeration of industries, the role of fiscal policies relative to monetary policy for macroeconomic stabilisation in the still incomplete monetary union, and selected key determinants of future growth in the euro area. 

Vincent Labhard, Peter McAdam, Filippos Petroulakis, Lara Vivian, 27 August 2019

The fourth industrial revolution is bringing about numerous challenges and opportunities. This column summarises selected takeaways from a recent ECB conference which brought together leading minds from academia, institutions and the private sector on the expected effects of digitalisation on the economy, including labour markets, productivity, investment and inflation, and possible implications for monetary policy.

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