Macroeconomic policy

Agnès Benassy-Quéré, 12 February 2016

The euro is unique in that it is a currency without a sovereign. Since the crisis, there have been major developments towards making the Eurozone more resilient, including the banking union and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). This column explores whether further normalisation is required to make the Eurozone function properly. It argues that the Eurozone, unlike existing federations, lacks the ability to deliver counter-cyclical fiscal policies while complying with fiscal discipline. Macroeconomic coordination will thus require rules, a strong and independent European Fiscal Board, and the strengthening of the ESM.

Kristin Forbes, Ida Hjortsoe, Tsvetelina Nenova, 12 February 2016

A major challenge for monetary policy is predicting how exchange rate movements will impact inflation. This column explains why rules of thumb could be misleading and proposes a new approach that incorporates the source of exchange rate movements when evaluating how they pass through to import prices and inflation.

Eugenio Cerutti, Stijn Claessens, Luc Laeven, 10 February 2016

Macroprudential policies are meant to reduce procyclicality in financial markets and associated systemic risks. However, empirical evidence on which policies are most effective is still preliminary and inconclusive. This column documents the use of macroprudential policies by a large set of countries over an extended period, and covering many instruments. It shows which policies are most effective in reducing the growth rates of overall credit and household and corporate sector credit, and explores differences across countries, degrees of avoidance, and whether policies work better during booms or busts. 

Christiane Baumeister, Lutz Kilian, 08 February 2016

Expectations play a key role in assessing how oil price fluctuations affect the economy. This column explores how consumers, policymakers, financial market participants, and economists form expectations about the price of crude oil, the differences in these expectations, and why future realisations of the price of oil so often differ substantially from these expectations. Differences in oil price expectations are shown to matter for quantifying oil price shocks and their transmission. 

Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon, 03 February 2016

In addition to setting interest rates, central banks also communicate with the public about economic conditions and future actions. While it has been established that communication can drive expectations, less is known about how it does so. This column attempts to shed light on this question. Applying novel measures to the content of Federal Reserve statements, it shows that forward guidance is a more important driver of market variables than disclosure of information about economic conditions.

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