Hugh Rockoff, 04 October 2014

World War I profoundly altered the structure of the US economy and its role in the world economy. However, this column argues that the US learnt the wrong lessons from the war, partly because a halo of victory surrounded wartime policies and personalities. The methods used for dealing with shortages during the war were simply inappropriate for dealing with the Great Depression, and American isolationism in the 1930s had devastating consequences for world peace.

Olivier Blanchard, 03 October 2014

Before the 2008 crisis, the mainstream worldview among US macroeconomists was that economic fluctuations were regular and essentially self-correcting. In this column, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard explains how this benign view of fluctuations took hold in the profession, and what lessons have been learned since the crisis. He argues that macroeconomic policy should aim to keep the economy away from ‘dark corners’, where it can malfunction badly.

Ricardo Reis, Jens Hilscher, Alon Raviv, 07 August 2014

Faced with daunting levels of public debt, it may be tempting to inflate away the burden. Some recent research has endorsed such a policy, but this column argues that it is infeasible. The rule of thumb that suggests an inflation rate four percentage points higher would reduce debt by 20% ignores creditor composition and maturity details, even if a 6% inflation rate were achievable. The hard truth is that there is no easy way out of debt.

Martin Weale, Tomasz Wieladek, 10 June 2014

After reducing their policy rates close to zero in response to the global financial crisis, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve began purchasing assets. This column assesses the effect of these asset purchases on output and inflation. In line with previous studies, the authors find that asset purchase announcements are associated with increases in both output and inflation in both countries. They also find that quantitative easing had a larger impact on UK inflation, which suggests that the UK Phillips curve is steeper.

Shusaku Nishiguchi, Jouchi Nakajima, Kei Imakubo, 02 May 2014

Inflation expectations are not fully captured with a single number. One important aspect is the degree of "disagreement" or "dispersion" in such expectations. This column discusses how the distribution of Japanese households' medium-horizon inflation expectations evolved using survey data. As prices have been rising since 2013, the expectations distribution showed a decrease in respondents expecting deflation or high inflation, and there was a substantial increase in respondents expecting moderate inflation.

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 15 November 2013

During the Great Recession, advanced economies have not experienced the disinflation that has historically been associated with high unemployment. This column shows that using consumers’ (as opposed to forecasters’) inflation expectations restores the traditional Phillips curve relationship for recent years. Consumers’ inflation expectations are more responsive to oil prices than those of professional forecasters. The increase in oil prices between 2009 and 2012 may in fact have prevented the onset of pernicious deflationary dynamics.

Espen Henriksen, Finn Kydland, Roman Šustek, 02 October 2013

The monetary policy for Eurozone members is one-size-fits-all in an economic area rife with economic differences. Does this really make a difference? This column argues that even if each EZ member state had a fully independent monetary authority, monetary policies would likely still appear highly synchronised across EZ members.

Thomas Stephens, Jean-Robert Tyran, 23 November 2012

Despite its meagre real returns in the long run, many people still think that investing in housing is a good idea. This column argues that a major reason for the tendency to buy houses is that it’s rare to lose money. Recent research shows people’s perceptions of housing transactions to be shaped by whether they gain or lose money – above and beyond the real returns.

Joshua Aizenman, Menzie Chinn, 15 May 2012

Might more inflation be good for the US and Europe? This column looks at the housing market in the US and argues that, with houses dropping in price, buyers are playing a waiting game. And as buyers keep delaying, the price drops further. Given the importance of property in many economies, the knock-on effects are severe. Yet one way to break this vicious cycle is with inflation.

Christian Thimann, 30 March 2012

A recent Vox column argued that with the three-year liquidity operations, the ECB has “hit a limit in its ability to prevent an acceleration of inflation”. This column explains why the ECB’s inflation-fighting powers remain intact – and why the risks of a sudden inflationary spike remain low.

Aaron Tornell, Frank Westermann, 28 March 2012

“Should the inflation outlook worsen, we would immediately take preventive steps”. So said Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank. This column argues that these are brave words given that the ECB has hit a limit in its ability to prevent an acceleration of inflation.

Carmen Reinhart, Jacob Kirkegaard, 26 March 2012

Rich nations worldwide have a problem with debt. In the past, such problems have been dealt with by several tactics, including 'financial repression'. This column explains how the tactic works and documents its resurgence in the wake of the global and Eurozone crises.

Marco Annunziata, 18 March 2012

Oil prices are again on the rise – will this derail the economic recovery? And what if there is an oil shock on the horizon? This column presents an overview of the oil market and its possible effects on the global economy. It argues that if there is a shock, the list of casualties will have Europe at the top with the US close behind.

Peter Tillmann, 23 February 2012

As the US Federal Reserve starts to increase the transparency of its decision-making process, including the release of economic forecasts and interest-rate projections, this column asks whether these projections reflect strategic motives that might make them less accurate and less useful to those wanting to predict monetary policy.

Giancarlo Corsetti, 20 January 2012

Giancarlo Corsetti talks to Viv Davies about using cumulated inflation differentials as a guide for pricing sovereign risk across Eurozone countries. They also discuss the fiscal compact, the debate on growth versus austerity in the Eurozone and the recent downgrading of Italy and other Eurozone countries. Corsetti is of the opinion that liquidity support is essential for, and compatible, with reforms in the failing Eurozone economies.

Giancarlo Corsetti, M. Hashem Pesaran, 09 January 2012

High debt levels, house price booms, uncompetitive labour markets – the list of possible reasons why some European countries are facing the wrath of the market are many. This column argues that they all boil down to one measure – inflation. Using the inflation differentials as a guide is the first step to seeing what countries need to adjust – and by how much.

Heleen Mees, Philip Hans Franses, 20 November 2011

Are the Chinese prone to money illusion? This column uses a unique Chinese dataset and finds that, unlike their American counterparts, Chinese people are more likely to base decisions on the real value and not be fooled by inflation.

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.

Olivier Coibion, 08 June 2011

What effect do interest-rate changes have on economic growth? Most studies suggest that the answer is “not much”. This column points out that a lot of these studies use US data from the early 1980s when monetary policy was under the “Volcker experiment”. When this episode is excluded, this column finds that the implied contribution of policy shocks to historical US business cycle fluctuations is much larger than found in much of the literature.

Antonello D’Agostino, Paolo Surico, 18 April 2011

What does inflation predictability reveal about the conduct of monetary policy? This column examines the ability of money growth and output growth to forecast inflation across a century of US data. It uncovers a robust link between the nature of the monetary regimes and the ability to predict inflation several quarters ahead.

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