Monetary policy

[field_auth], 22 July 2016

The secular stagnation hypothesis suggests that low interest rates may be the new normal in years to come. This column argues that this prospect should not only lead to a major rethinking of policy from the perspective of individual economies, but also a major rethinking about monetary and fiscal policy in the international context, the role of international capital flows, and the role of policy coordination across borders. In times of secular stagnation, events such as Brexit or the recent turbulence in Turkey have much larger spillover effects than under normal circumstances.

[field_auth], 19 July 2016

The zero lower bound policy for nominal interest rates was implemented to stimulate sluggish economic growth and boost employment. This column explores whether this policy had unintended effects on the money market fund industry. Traditionally enjoying relatively low and safe returns, money market funds could respond to the low interest rate environment by either exiting the market or changing product offerings and accepting higher portfolio risk. The results show evidence of both, and point to an important but neglected channel for monetary policy transmission.

[field_auth], 07 July 2016

Low inflation targets can cause economies to hit the zero lower bound during deflationary periods caused by even mild shocks. In such circumstances, central banks lose their ability to stimulate the economy. This column assesses the risk of this happening using a model that endogenises self-perpetuating optimism and pessimism in the economy. Given agents’ intrinsic chronic pessimism during times of recession, central banks should raise their inflation targets to 3 or 4% to preserve their ability to stimulate the economy when needed.

[field_auth], 27 June 2016

The business of central banks used to be profitable – they issued cash and could invest the proceeds in the assets they liked. This column argues that the ECB has turned the old business model of central banks around. Today, it earns a stream of income on its liabilities, while the returns of an increasing part of its assets go to the national central banks. This cannot be a stable arrangement.

[field_auth], 16 June 2016

All monetary policies have external spillover effects. However, the domestic mandates of most central banks may not legally allow them to take spillovers into account, and may force them to undertake aggressive policies so long as they have some small positive domestic effect. This column looks at the rules of the game for responsible policy in such a context. It proposes a ‘traffic light’ system to identify policies that should be encouraged by the international community, policies that should be used temporarily and with care, and policies that should be avoided at all costs.

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