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.

Michael Ehrmann, Gaetano Gaballo, Peter Hoffmann, Georg Strasser, 01 August 2019

Forward guidance – communication by a central bank about the likely future path of interest rates – usually reduces uncertainty. This column argues that how this is done in practice matters, however, because forward guidance with a short time horizon can raise uncertainty. This occurs if the forward guidance impairs the aggregation of private information in financial markets, thus making market prices less informative.

Laura Hospido, Luc Laeven, Ana Lamo, 05 July 2019

The underrepresentation of women in economics is perhaps nowhere as visible as in central banks. This column uses anonymised personnel data to analyse the career progression of men and women at the ECB. A wage gap in favour of men emerges within a few years of hiring, with one important driver being the presence of children. Women were also less likely to be promoted to a higher salary band up until 2010, when the ECB issued a statement supporting diversity and took measures to support gender balance. Following this change, the promotion gap disappears. 

Stan Olijslagers, Annelie Petersen, Nander de Vette, Sweder Van Wijnbergen, 17 June 2019

The decade since the Global Crisis has seen central banks employ a range of monetary policy tools. This column draws two lessons from the unconventional monetary policy measures employed during the European sovereign debt crisis. First, central banks should communicate clearly – and with sufficient detail – in times of heightened market stress to lower tail risk perceptions in financial markets. Second, policies aimed at changing the relative supply within different asset classes have an impact on perceived crash risk, while measures aimed at easing financing costs of commercial banks do not.

Anne-Laure Delatte, Pranav Garg, Jean Imbs, 21 May 2019

The ECB's unconventional monetary policy package implemented in February 2012 changed collateral requirements. This column examines the effects in the French credit market, using data on corporate loans. Credit indeed increased after the liquidity injection, exclusively driven by supply. There was also strategic risk-taking by a group of banks, an unintentional implication of the policy.

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. 

The Editors, 26 February 2019

Philip Lane, a CEPR Research Fellow, will soon become the ECB's chief economist. Read this selection of his columns to find out his opinions on the euro area, financial stability, and monetary policy.

Benoît Coeuré, 25 February 2019

There is a growing debate in Europe as to whether recent shifts in global governance should be seen as a reason to strengthen the global role of the euro. This column explains that while the ECB does not take a view on foreign policy questions, the alignment between policies that will strengthen the euro’s global role and policies that are needed to make the euro area more robust, together with the implications for monetary policy that a stronger international role of the euro would have, make the debate relevant to the central bank.

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.

Ralf Fendel, Nicola Mai, Oliver Mohr, 17 January 2019

The flattening of the US yield curve has left academics, central bankers and market commentators divided, with one camp interpreting it as a sign of impending recession (in line with historical patterns), and the other camp arguing that this time is different given unprecedented changes in monetary policy and other structural forces. This column argues that the ECB’s quantitative easing programme undermined the performance of term spreads as predictors of recessions. It suggests and tests a modified term spread and several other variables that are more successful at predicting recessions. 

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. 

Vítor Constâncio, 28 December 2018

Vítor Constâncio, Former Vice-President of the European Central Bank, talks about euro area performance to date and suggests what should come next for the area.

Christiane Nickel, Derry O'Brien, 20 November 2018

Just like other central banks, the ECB generally monitors a range of measures of underlying inflation to help distinguish noise from signal in headline inflation. This column describes measures of underlying inflation that are routinely used at the ECB for measuring euro area headline inflation and provides some insights on their interpretation. Each of the measures has merits and shortcomings and they should be taken together in arriving at a first-pass assessment of developments in headline inflation. At the same time, the measures need to be complemented by a more structural examination of their driving forces in order to better understand the inflation process.

Pierluigi Bologna, Arianna Miglietta, Anatoli Segura, 29 October 2018

Proponents of contingent convertible bonds, or CoCos, argue that they are effective instruments for bank recapitalisation. Sceptics argue that they introduce too much complexity, with potentially destabilising consequences. This column addresses this dispute empirically, using the dynamics of the CoCo market in 2016. The CoCo market at the time exhibited adverse dynamics that can’t be explained by banks’ fundamentals. Though some of this instability may have been transitory, the findings imply that the market should be monitored as it develops.


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