Why leaning against the wind is the wrong monetary policy for Sweden
Lars E.O. Svensson 05 July 2014
Sweden has pursued a tighter monetary policy than is necessary to achieve the inflation target in order to reduce risks associated with household indebtedness. The net benefit to ‘leaning against the wind’ has been hotly debated; this column argues strongly against it. By reducing inflation, the Riksbank has in fact increased household debt, and contractionary pressure has worsened the employment situation. The author estimates that the benefits to leaning are worth only 0.4% of the costs.
There is a lively ongoing debate about whether raising interest rates beyond the level needed to stabilise prices – ‘leaning against the wind’ – is a justified modification of flexible inflation targeting (as discussed in Smets 2013). In a new paper, I explain why leaning against the wind is the wrong monetary policy for Sweden (Svensson 2014).
Leaning against the wind, Riksbank, lean vs clean