David Cobham, 16 September 2013

The Bank of England is searching for an alternative activist monetary policy. This column argues that inflation targeting is better than previous frameworks but there is room for improvement. Faced with exchange rate and housing prices problems, the Bank was unable to modify the framework to suit. To avoid such problems, the Bank should be given more goal-independence as well as instrument-independence.

Spencer Dale, James Talbot, 13 September 2013

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has recently provided some explicit forward guidance regarding the future conduct of monetary policy in the UK. This column by the Bank's Chief economist explains how the MPC designed its forward guidance to respond to the unprecedented challenges facing the UK economy and argues that forward guidance allows the MPC to explore the scope for economic expansion without putting price and financial stability at risk.

Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon, 11 August 2013

Markets will be perusing the new Bank of England Governor’s comments for hints on his hawkishness. This column presents evidence showing that Monetary Policy Committee members tend to become more dovish as they become more experienced (i.e. after having participated in 18 or more meetings), with this tendency most marked in members with dovish preferences.

Anthony Hotson, 23 April 2013

Medieval monetary practices reveal an alternative approach to currency stabilisation. This column examines the role of Mint prices as a device for stabilising the medieval bullion market. This might seem to be of limited relevance to managing modern currencies, yet a longer historical view helps to highlight different approaches to currency stabilisation. This raises a question for modern policymakers: should the price of some of the asset counterparts of today’s money be anchored, as bullion prices once were under the Mint system?

Stephen Grenville, 24 February 2013

What would the overt monetary financing of fiscal deficits involve? This column explains the differences between “printing money”, quantitative easing, and overt monetary finance. Lord Turner’s proposed “helicopter drop” raises issues for banks’ balance sheets and central bank independence.

Charles Goodhart, Melanie Baker, Jonathan Ashworth, 22 January 2013

The Bank of England’s Governor-elect has argued for a switch to a nominal GDP target. This column points out problems with nominal GDP targets, especially in levels. Among other issues, nominal GDP targeting means that uncertainty surrounding future real growth rates compounds uncertainty on future inflation rates. Thus the switch is likely to raise uncertainty about future inflation and weaken the anchoring of inflation expectations.

David Miles, 27 November 2012

David Miles talks to Viv Davies about the conclusions of his recent research on quantitative easing and unconventional monetary policy. Miles discusses the different types of 'asset purchasing programmes' adopted by the Bank of England, the Fed and the ECB; they also discuss the importance of current research in these areas and the potential risks associated with quantitative easing. The interview was recorded at the Bank of England on 21 November 2012. [Also read the transcript]

Jean Pisani-Ferry, Guntram Wolff, 03 May 2012

The ECB has managed a massive expansion of its balance sheet with long-term refinancing operations. This has been called the equivalent of quantitative easing, as done by the Fed and the Bank of England. This column thus argues that the main obstacle for the ECB is not tight limits on the purchase of government bonds. Rather, it is the absence of a banking and fiscal union and the heterogeneity within the Eurozone that reduces the effectiveness of the ECB instruments.

Michael Joyce, Matthew Tong, Robert Woods, 01 November 2011

With the Bank of England recently announcing an additional £75 billion of quantitative easing, a reasonable question to ask is whether the last £200 billion has made any difference. This argues that QE may have helped boost real GDP by as much as 2% and inflation by 1.5%, similar to the effect from a drop in the base rate of around 300 basis points.

Marc Flandreau, Stefano Ugolini, 23 July 2011

Has the global financial crisis been bad news for the world’s reserve currency? This column argues that it needn’t be, citing the rise of sterling as a global currency after the financial crisis of 1866.

Anne Murphy, 22 May 2011

Working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday is the typical grind in Anglo-Saxon economies. In some professions, longer hours and low pay for junior workers is justified by the end reward of much better pay and a better work-life balance as they gain seniority. This column examines the workings of the Bank of England in 1783 to show the beginnings of this working culture.

Willem Buiter, 25 March 2009

The last column in this series on fiscal aspects of central banking reviews the differences in fiscal backing for the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank.

Richard Baldwin, 08 May 2010

This column, first posted 17 May 2008, reviews Willem Buiter's analysis of why the ECB is so hesitant to buy debt. Central banks can go broke – and some in developing countries have done so recently. The ECB is now lending against dubious collateral. An ECB recapitalisation seems unthinkable at the moment, but that’s why it is a good time to think the unthinkable. Willem Buiter considers the question at length in CEPR Policy Insight No. 24 and argues that Eurozone fiscal authorities should, ASAP, agree on a formula for fiscal burden-sharing should an ECB recapitalisation ever be necessary.

Willem Buiter, 05 March 2008

This second column on the Treasury Committee’s report on lessons from Northern Rock discusses the institutional arrangements needed to cope should a bank of non-trivial size fail.

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