“Mensch tracht, und Gott lacht” – what’s the best guidance on monetary policy?

David Miles 22 October 2014

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“Mensch tracht, und Gott lacht” is a Yiddish proverb – men plan and God laughs. Woody Allen puts the same thought this way: “If you want to make God laugh tell him about your plans”. Some people might see these words as a fitting epitaph for forward guidance on monetary policy. The Bank of England has certainly faced a good deal of criticism for the guidance that it has recently been giving, as has the Federal Reserve in the US.

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Topics:  Monetary policy

Tags:  forward guidance, unconventional monetary policy, monetary policy, Central Banks, central bank communication, interest rates, uncertainty

Where danger lurks

Olivier Blanchard 03 October 2014

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Until the 2008 global financial crisis, mainstream US macroeconomics had taken an increasingly benign view of economic fluctuations in output and employment. The crisis has made it clear that this view was wrong and that there is a need for a deep reassessment.

The benign view reflected both factors internal to economics and an external economic environment that for years seemed indeed increasingly benign.

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  macroeconomics, global crisis, great moderation, rational expectations, nonlinearities, fluctuations, business cycle, monetary policy, inflation, bank runs, deposit insurance, sudden stops, capital flows, liquidity, maturity mismatch, zero lower bound, liquidity trap, capital requirements, credit constraints, precautionary savings, housing boom, Credit crunch, unconventional monetary policy, fiscal policy, sovereign default, diabolical loop, deflation, debt deflation, financial regulation, regulatory arbitrage, DSGE models

Is the ECB doing QE?

Charles Wyplosz 12 September 2014

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The 4 September announcement by Chairman Mario Draghi has been greeted with enthusiasm by the markets and the media. It has been long awaited, and many believe that the ECB has finally delivered. This is not sure. The ECB intends to buy large amounts of securities backed by bank lending to households (mortgages) and to firms.

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Topics:  Exchange rates Financial markets Monetary policy

Tags:  quantitative easing, QE, monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy, ECB, securitisation, bank lending, Europe, eurozone, Subprime, stress tests, deleveraging, recapitalisation, depreciation, exchange rates, euro, central banking

Quantifying the macroeconomic effects of large-scale asset purchases

Karl Walentin 11 September 2014

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Central banks have used various unconventional monetary policy tools since the onset of the financial crisis yet the debate continues regarding their efficiency. This column attempts to shed light on the ‘bang for the buck’, or the macroeconomic effects, of one such unconventional monetary policy – the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities employed during the Fed’s QE1 and QE3 programs.

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Topics:  Global crisis Monetary policy

Tags:  monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy, large-scale asset purchases, central banking, financial crisis, Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, mortgage-backed securities, term premia, zero lower bound, interest rates, US, UK, Sweden, mortgages, global crisis

To exit the Great Recession, central banks must adapt their policies and models

Marcus Miller, Lei Zhang 10 September 2014

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“Practical men…are usually the slaves…[of] some academic scribbler of a few years back” – John Maynard Keynes.

For monetary policy to be most effective, Michael Woodford emphasised the crucial importance of managing expectations. For this purpose, he advocated that central banks adopt explicit rules for setting interest rates to check inflation and recession, and went on to note that:

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Taylor rule, forward guidance, great moderation, global crisis, Great Recession, quantitative easing, DSGE models, expectations, tapering, US, UK, Europe, eurozone, ECB, Bank of England, central banking, IMF, unconventional monetary policy

Publish or be damned – or why central banks need to say more about the path of their policy rates

Richard Barwell, Jagjit Chadha 31 August 2014

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The central banking community has made significant steps to improve its communication strategy since the days of myth and mystique criticised by Alan Blinder in 1998:

“Greater openness is not a popular case in central banking circles, where mystery is sometimes argued to be essential to effective monetary policy…[but] a more open central bank, by contrast, naturally conditions expectations by providing the markets with information about its own view of the fundamental forces guiding monetary policy.” 

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Topics:  Monetary policy

Tags:  Bank of England, forward guidance, unconventional monetary policy

Identifying and quantifying monetary policy transmission through bank balance sheets

Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa 09 August 2014

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How does monetary policy affect firm activities? While there is long-standing literature on this issue, the transmission mechanism of monetary policy is currently attracting renewed attention. The reason is that many central banks – including the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the ECB, and the Bank of Japan – have introduced unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing and credit easing in the wake of the Global Crisis, and sooner or later will have to exit from these policies.

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Topics:  Financial markets Global crisis Monetary policy

Tags:  monetary policy, Japan, global crisis, quantitative easing, unconventional monetary policy, balance sheets, financial accelerator, credit easing, bank lending channel

What are the macroeconomic effects of asset purchases?

Martin Weale, Tomasz Wieladek 10 June 2014

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After policy rates fell close to zero in response to the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the scope for further conventional monetary policy easing was exhausted. As a result, both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve embarked on large-scale asset purchases of government and financial securities (see Figures 1 and 2).

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Topics:  Monetary policy

Tags:  inflation, Federal Reserve, Phillips curve, Bank of England, quantitative easing, unconventional monetary policy, output

Unconventional monetary policy normalisation and emerging-market capital flows

Andrew Burns, Mizuho Kida, Jamus Lim, Sanket Mohapatra, Marc Stocker 21 January 2014

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Quantitative easing (QE), which started in 2008, swelled the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to an unprecedented $3.4 trillion. In May 2013, the Fed announced that it would evaluate the possibility of a reversal of its unconventional monetary policies – QE in particular .

The event, which has come to be known as ‘tapering’, prompted a sharp, negative response from financial markets (the so-called ‘taper tantrum’):

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Topics:  Financial markets International finance Monetary policy

Tags:  Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, unconventional monetary policy, tapering

Overcoming the obstacles to international macro policy coordination is hard

Olivier Blanchard, Jonathan D Ostry, Atish R Ghosh 20 December 2013

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International policy coordination is like the Loch Ness monster – much discussed but rarely seen. Going back over the decades, and even further in history to the period between the two world wars, coordination efforts have been episodic.

Coordination seems to occur spontaneously in turbulent periods, when the world faces the prospect of some calamitous outcome and the key players are seeking to avoid cascading negative spillovers. In quieter times coordination is rarer, though not unheard of – the Louvre and Plaza accords are examples. 

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  spillovers, fiscal consolidation, financial regulation, policy coordination, unconventional monetary policy, currency war

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