Scrapping subsidies during the Global Crisis – Evidence from Europe
Nina Leheyda, Frank Verboven, 5 December 2013
Scrapping subsidies were a popular policy to protect car sales in the beginning of the crisis. This column presents new research showing that the subsidies had a strong effect on stabilising sales, but only a small environmental impact. There may thus be more productive investments to stabilise the economy during times of crisis.
Many governments around the world have introduced scrapping schemes during the last financial and economic crisis. In Europe, they were especially popular during the year 2009. Governments aimed to counteract the sharply declining demand for cars, while at the same time promoting cleaner cars with lower CO2 emissions.
Tags: Cash for clunkers, Europe, global crisis, scrapping subsidies
Monetary policy will never be the same
Olivier Blanchard, 27 November 2013
The global crisis changed the face of monetary policy. This column, written by the IMF’s chief economist, reviews the main changes. It draws on contributions to a recent IMF conference on the topic.
Two weeks ago, the IMF organized a major research conference, in honour of Stanley Fischer, on lessons from the crisis. Here is my take. I shall focus on what I see as the lessons for monetary policy, but before I do this, let me mention two other important conclusions.
Topics: Monetary policy
Tags: global crisis, monetary policy
Is the Phillips curve alive and well after all? Inflation expectations and the missing disinflation
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.
“Prior to the recent deep worldwide recession, macroeconomists of all schools took a negative relation between slack and declining inflation as an axiom. Few seem to have awakened to the recent experience as a contradiction to the axiom.” (Bob Hall, 2013.)
Topics: Global crisis, Monetary policy
Tags: disinflation, expectations, global crisis, Great Recession, inflation, oil, Phillips curve
Assessing leverage in the financial sector through flow data
Javier Villar Burke, 14 November 2013
This column discusses the concept of leverage, its components and how to measure and monitor it. It proposes the marginal leverage ratio – a valuable supplement to the traditional absolute leverage ratio – as an early warning tool to signal episodes of excessive leverage and to determine if and how banks deleverage. By capturing the dynamics of leveraging-deleveraging cycles better than the absolute leverage ratio, the marginal leverage ratio provides an indication of risk that a stable absolute leverage ratio can conceal.
The build-up of leverage in the banking sector played a prominent role in the Global Crisis.1 A standard description the role of leverage corresponds with the typical profile of a financial bubble as reflected in the evolution of the banks of the Eurostoxx 50 (Figure 1).
Topics: International finance
Tags: bank leverage, deleveraging, financial regulation, global crisis
Tax policy in (and for) hard times
Michael Keen, 16 October 2013
Fiscal consolidation, and public concern that its pain be fairly spread, is putting tax systems under considerable pressure. This column takes stock of how they have been faring, and how they could do better.
Tax policy, like everything else, has been through tough times since the onset of the crisis. First, tax policy was to stimulate the economy (Heady 2011). Now it is to help consolidate the fiscal position – always with considerable urgency and all in the midst of public anger and disquiet.
Topics: Macroeconomic policy, Taxation
Tags: fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, global crisis, Inequality, taxation, wealth
International cooperation and central banks
Harold James, 8 October 2013
The global nature of the recent financial crisis required a coordinated response from central banks. After the fall of Lehman Brothers, several of them simultaneously reduced their policy rates, and the Fed extended dollar swap lines to its overseas counterparts. However, the second phase of the crisis has put increasing strain on international cooperation. This column presents two explanations. First, the Eurozone crisis threatens the solvency of governments, thus creating conflict over who will pay the costs of maintaining financial stability. Second, unconventional monetary policy has had spillover effects in developing countries.
Tackling the aftermath of a major financial crisis, the origins of which lie in ‘global imbalances’ and whose transmission mechanisms are cross-national, seems prima facie to demand more substantial and institutionalised cooperation. However, in the five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, visions of what central banks can and should do have changed profoundly.
Topics: Global crisis, International finance
Tags: Central Banks, Eurozone crisis, global crisis, global imbalances, monetary policy, policy coordination
Is there a dilemma with the Trilemma?
Michael W Klein, Jay C. Shambaugh , 27 September 2013
The ‘financial trilemma’ – that open capital markets and pegged exchange rates mean a loss of monetary autonomy – has recently been challenged. Some argue that even flexible exchange rates cannot assure monetary autonomy without capital controls, while others argue even countries with fixed exchange rates can gain autonomy through temporary capital controls. This column argues that free floating exchange rates do in fact allow autonomy, and partially floating ones allow partial autonomy. For countries with fixed exchange rates, capital controls provide monetary autonomy when they are widely applied and longstanding, but not when they are temporary and narrowly targeted.
In the Handbook of Safeguarding Global Financial Stability, the chapter “Capital Mobility and Exchange Rate Regimes” begins “Forced to state all the insights of international macroeconomics while standing on one leg, one could do worse than raise a foot off the ground and say something like:
Topics: Exchange rates, Monetary policy
Tags: capital controls, exchange-rate policy, global crisis, monetary policy
How have financial markets reacted to financial-sector reforms after the crisis?
Alexander Schäfer, Isabel Schnabel, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 2 August 2013
Lax financial-sector regulation was the fulcrum of the Global Crisis and policymakers reacted by introducing sweeping reforms. But has it had any impact? This column reviews evidence from bank stock returns showing that four major reforms in the US and Europe have reduced bailout expectations – especially for systemic banks. The strongest effects were found for the Dodd-Frank Act (especially the Volcker rule); the German restructuring law had little effect.
After the near-collapse of large parts of the financial system and unprecedented support measures from the public sector and central banks, the leaders of the G20 agreed on the need for a radical overhaul of the financial system.
Topics: International finance
Tags: CDS, credit default swap, Eurozone crisis, global crisis, regulation
Why economics needs economic history
Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke, 24 July 2013
The current economic and financial crisis has given rise to a vigorous debate about what training graduate and undergraduate economics students are receiving. This column argues that we don't teach enough economic and financial history, even though it is crucial in thinking about the economy. It also offers a wealth of opportunities for teachers who wish to motivate their students.
The current economic and financial crisis has given rise to a vigorous debate about the state of economics, and the training which graduate and undergraduates economics students are receiving. Importantly, among those arguing most strongly for a change in the way that young economists are trained are the ultimate employers of these students, in both the private and the public sector.
Topics: Economic history
Tags: Eurozone crisis, global crisis
Bank leverage cycles
Galo Nuño, Carlos Thomas, 12 March 2013
Economists tend to agree that explosive deleveraging in the banking sector was a central element of the 2008 global financial crisis. This column argues that such deleveraging is far from unique. In fact, there is a ‘bank leverage cycle’ in which bank leverage, assets and GDP ramp up and down together; and this is true across financial subsectors. Such procyclicality strengthens the case for macroprudential regulations.
The 2007-09 financial crisis witnessed a severe disruption of financial intermediation in many industrialised economies. Recent literature has focussed on the role played by the ‘shadow banking’ sector in the origin and propagation of financial turmoil.
Topics: International finance
Tags: deleveraging, global crisis, showdown banking