Ethan Ilzetzki, 13 April 2022

The March 2022 CfM survey asked the members of its UK panel how the Bank of England and the UK Treasury should respond to the economic fallout of the war in Ukraine on the UK economy. A solid majority of the panel think that the Bank of England should slow the pace of interest rate increases planned this year due to the events in Eastern Europe. The panel is nearly unanimous that the government should increase public spending, but is split on whether increased spending should exceed inflation and on whether taxes should be increased or cut in response to recent events.  

Patrick O'Brien, Nuno Palma, 12 March 2022

Special wartime monetary policies have successfully been used on numerous occasions throughout history. This column describes how the Bank of England played a decisive role in supporting the British economy during the French Wars of 1793-1815. Rapid increases in military expenditure during wartime were supported by liquid and low-inflation government financing as well as reputable management of debt levels. In this light, current sanctions on the Bank of Russia could lead to long-term changes to Russia’s economy and political system as well. 

Ethan Ilzetzki, 10 February 2022

Consumer prices in the UK rose by 5.4% (year-on-year) in December 2021, the highest annual rate of inflation since the UK adopted an inflation target in 1992. The January CfM survey asked a panel of experts on the UK economy to evaluate the causes and prospects of the current inflation surge. The panel was nearly unanimous in thinking it was caused by supply side factors that are mostly global in nature (commodity prices, supply chain disruptions) and fall outside government control. The majority of the panel believes that inflation will not persist beyond 2022. 

Thorsten Beck, 04 February 2022

Since the GFC the UK has used innovative macroprudential and monetary policy tools to maintain stability. But the UK is an international financial centre, and so does this policy framework create spillovers in other places, and do influences from elsewhere affect stability in the UK? Yes and yes, says Thorsten Beck.

Read more about this research and download the free DP:
Beck, T, Lloyd, S, Reinhardt, D and Sowerbutts, R. 2022. 'Macro-financial policy in an international financial centre: the United Kingdom experience since the global financial crisis'. CEPR

David Blanchflower, 15 November 2021

Ethan Ilzetzki, 18 August 2021

By most measures, income inequality has increased in the UK in the past several decades. The July 2021 CfM survey asked the members of its UK panel to evaluate the impact of central banks on inequality and whether the Bank of England should consider income and wealth distribution in its monetary policy decisions. The majority the panel thinks monetary policy has only a small impact on wealth and income inequality. A larger majority of nearly 90% of the panel believes that inequality should play a minimal role or no role in the Bank of England’s monetary policy decisions.

Lucile Crumpton, Ethan Ilzetzki, 26 July 2021

Central banks across the world are starting to experiment with digital currencies. This column summarises the findings from a survey of a CfM of experts on the UK economy, who were nearly unanimous in agreeing that a Bank of England-issued digital currency would benefit the British economy. Half of the panel also believed that a digital currency would have limited impact on the UK banking system. 

Kilian Rieder, 20 April 2020

Since mid-March 2020, countries have seen consumers panic buying large quantities of groceries in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why does panic buying arise and how may one mitigate its negative consequences? This column examines the Bank of England’s response to financial crises during the 19th century and suggests that a key action is to counter those incentives that turn panic buying into a rational strategy.

Fabio Braggion, Rik Frehen, Emiel Jerphanion, 19 April 2020

How does cheap credit feed into investors’ behaviour? Cheap credit could boost stock prices, even without trading, by lowering the cost of capital. However, it might also enable naïve investors to ride a bubble and lose money. To see what effect prevails, this column collects every stock transaction for three major British companies during the 1720 South Sea Bubble. It finds that loan holders are more likely to buy following high returns, subscribe to overvalued share issues and incur large trading losses.

Richard Barwell, Jagjit Chadha, Michael Grady, 29 March 2020

Doing ‘whatever it takes’ does not mean the Bank of England has to undermine long-run monetary and financial stability. This column outlines the options faced by the Bank of England in supporting the economy during the COVID-19 Crisis including closer coordination with fiscal policy.

Pontus Rendahl, Lukas B. Freund, 14 December 2019

In recent years, some have claimed that banks create money ‘ex nihilo’. This column explains that banks do not create money out of thin air. From an economic viewpoint, commercial banks create private money by transforming an illiquid asset (the borrower’s future ability to repay) into a liquid one (bank deposits); they would quickly be insolvent otherwise. In addition to bank solvency representing a constraint on private money creation, banks require access to liquid reserves in order to be able to engage in money creation. 

John Vickers, 14 June 2019

The stability of the financial system depends on the capital of banks and other financial institutions. But the measurement of bank capital depends on regulatory accounting methods, which, as events a decade ago showed dramatically, do not always reflect economic realities in a timely fashion. This column argues that market-based measures should play a greater role in regulatory assessment than is current practice, in particular in stress tests.

Ed Balls, Anna Stansbury, 01 May 2017

Until recently, the independence granted to the Bank of England 20 years ago had gone unchallenged. But the financial crisis has raised questions over whether central bank independence is necessary, feasible, and democratic. This column revisits the relationship between inflation and the operational and political independence of the central bank in advanced economies. The findings support the Bank of England model of monetary policy independence: fully operationally independent, but somewhat politically dependent. To make operational independence work, however, further reforms are needed to the model in both monetary–fiscal coordination and macroprudential policy.

Richard Barwell, 19 December 2016

It is generally assumed that central bankers often argue over the appropriate conduct of monetary policy. Focusing on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, this column argues that based on what policymakers vote for, there is no evidence that they disagree with one another in any meaningful sense. Either policymakers essentially agree all the time, or they do not vote their view. 

Charles Calomiris, Marc Flandreau, Luc Laeven, 19 September 2016

The Global Crisis has raised concerns over how far ‘lender of last resort’ policies by central banks should go. This column examines the history of the development of these policies throughout the world. Last resort lending is a locus of political power, and as such, its creation should be viewed as the outcome of a political bargain. It is therefore not surprising that countries differed in their propensity to create such policies, and in the powers with which they chose to endow them.

Patrick O'Brien, Nuno Palma, 03 September 2016

Today's unconventional central bank policies have historical precedent. One example is the suspension of convertibility of banknotes into gold by the Bank of England between 1797 and 1821. This column argues that, although there were important differences between then and now, it demonstrates that bank reputation and interaction between bank and state are vital to the success of unconventional policies. Also, short-term unconventional policies may persist long after a crisis has passed.

Stefano Ugolini, 30 August 2016

When Mario Draghi famously declared that the ECB was “ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro”, he also specified “within our mandate”. This column examines the institutional limitations to central bankers’ actions. It argues that institutional constraints are essential in determining the sustainability of monetary policies, and hence central banks’ ability to pursue their targets. The weakness of the Bank of England in the heyday of the gold standard is a case in point.

Wouter den Haan, Martin Ellison, Ethan Ilzetzki, Michael McMahon, Ricardo Reis, 17 May 2016

Quantitative easing is called ‘unconventional monetary policy’, but monetary policy could get much more ‘unconventional’. Things like ‘helicopter money’, abolishing currency and negative nominal interest rates have entered the public policy debate. This column reports the views of leading experts on the future role of unconventional monetary policy, and what might be called ‘unconventional unconventional monetary policies’. Opinions are divided. There is a healthy dose of scepticism on the effectiveness of current and future policies, but also many respondents express urgency that central banks should have more policy tools to affect inflation and real activity when the need arises. Ultimately, the experts’ hesitations match those of central banks. 

Nauro Campos, Corrado Macchiarelli, 03 March 2016

There seems to be a robust consensus that the relationship between the countries in the EU that use the euro as their currency (‘euro-ins’) and those that do not (‘euro-outs’) is the most important of the four areas in the ‘new settlement’ between the UK and the EU. This column presents new econometric estimates showing that, after the introduction of the euro, the UK and Eurozone business cycles became significantly more synchronised. It is likely this upsurge in synchronisation increased the costs of a potential UK exit from the EU. 

John Vickers, 15 February 2016

Much stronger capital buffers are fundamental to banking reform. But seven years on from the Global Crisis, the question of how much stronger has not been fully decided. This column reviews the Bank of England’s recently published framework for the systemic risk buffer. It is suggested that the Bank should go further than it proposes, and require stronger capital buffers for systemically-important retail banks.

Pages

Blogs&Reviews

Vox eBooks

Vox Talks

Events

CEPR Policy Research