Occasional paper series

Communication device to a broad audience

Our Occasional Paper Series (OPS) disseminates work carried out by, as a rule, ECB staff on subjects that relate to the main tasks and functions of the ECB and the ESCB. Occasional Papers (OPs) are addressed to a wide audience, including other policy-makers, financial analysts, academics, the media and the interested general public. Understanding the papers will normally require some prior knowledge of the topic.

No. 186
19 April 2017
EU consumers’ quantitative inflation perceptions and expectations: an evaluation

Abstract

JEL Classification

D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

Abstract

This report updates and extends earlier assessments of quantitative inflation perceptions and expectations of consumers in the euro area and the EU using an anonymised micro data set collected by the European Commission in the context of the Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys. Confirming earlier findings, consumers' quantitative estimates of inflation are found to be higher than actual HICP (Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices) inflation over the entire sample period (2004-2015). The analysis shows that European consumers hold different opinions of inflation depending on their income, age, education and gender. Although many of the features highlighted for the EU and the euro area aggregates are valid across individual Member States, differences exist also at the country level. Despite the higher inflation estimates, there is a high level of co-movement between measured and estimated (perceived/expected) inflation. Even respondents providing estimates largely above actual HICP inflation, demonstrate understanding of the relative level of inflation during both high and low inflation periods. Based on these economically plausible results, the report concludes that further work should be devoted to defining concrete aggregate indicators of consumers' quantitative inflation perceptions and expectations on the basis of the dataset used in this study. Moreover, it outlines a number of future research topics that can be addressed by exploiting the enormous potential of the data set.

No. 185
10 April 2017
Debt sustainability analysis for euro area sovereigns: a methodological framework

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

H62 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Deficit, Surplus

H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt

H68 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

Abstract

The euro area sovereign debt crisis has highlighted the importance of reducing public debt levels and building up sufficient fiscal buffers during normal and good times. It has also reaffirmed the need for a thorough debt sustainability analysis (DSA) to act as a warning system for national policies. This paper introduces a comprehensive DSA framework for euro area sovereigns that could be used for analysis of fiscal risks and vulnerabilities. Specifically, this framework consists of three main building blocks: (i) a deterministic DSA, which embeds debt simulations under a benchmark and various narrative shock scenarios; (ii) a stochastic DSA, providing for a probabilistic approach to debt sustainability; and (iii) other relevant indicators capturing liquidity and solvency risks. The information embedded in the three main DSA blocks can be summarised in a heat map, which can provide guidance on the overall assessment of risks to debt sustainability. This method reflects the need to have a broad-based assessment, cross-checking information and perspectives from various sources with a view to deriving a robust debt sustainability assessment.

No. 184
17 March 2017
Benchmarking institutional and structural indicators in EU candidate and potential candidate countries

Abstract

JEL Classification

F13 : International Economics→Trade→Trade Policy, International Trade Organizations

F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

O11 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

O43 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Institutions and Growth

Abstract

This paper reviews institutional and structural challenges in countries preparing for EU membership, i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Sound institutions and solid economic structures are not only the cornerstones of EU accession (as defined by the Copenhagen political and economic criteria), but are also crucial for achieving higher income levels and sustainable long-term growth. This paper finds that the EU candidate and potential candidate countries (EU CC/PCC) fare worse than the majority of EU Member States in a number of institutional and structural metrics, such as business environment, access to finance, judicial system, trade and competitiveness, labour market and education and institutional governance. When comparing EU CC/PCC among themselves, large intra-group disparities emerge. Countries such as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and, to a certain extent, Serbia and Turkey, tend to score on average higher than Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. While many EU CC/PCC have improved the quality of their institutions and economic governance over the past decade, it is crucial that they preserve the reform momentum to enable a sustainable convergence with the EU. / / * This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

No. 183
21 February 2017
Stress-Testing of liquidity risk in TARGET2

Abstract

JEL Classification

C63 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling→Computational Techniques, Simulation Modeling

E42 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Monetary Systems, Standards, Regimes, Government and the Monetary System, Payment Systems

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

Abstract

The paper reports the outcome of the stress-testing of liquidity risk in the TARGET2 payment system, with the study having been conducted by an ad-hoc group composed of operators and overseers of TARGET2. The study aims to assess the resilience of the system, defined as the network of its participants, and the appropriateness of liquidity levels under tightened liquidity conditions. The scenarios analysed are based on extreme shocks to the value of collateral of different levels and types that lead to a decrease in the intraday credit lines available in TARGET2 and, as a result, the payment capacity of TARGET2 participants. The tool used to perform these stress tests is the TARGET2 simulator, which provides access to real transaction level data and allows simulations to be run by changing parameters, in this case the credit lines. The period under analysis is one maintenance period for the years 2008 to 2013. In general, the stress-testing indicates that the system is resilient under the stress scenarios; liquidity levels seem to be appropriate and supported by the efficient liquidity management features of TARGET2. Even in the worst simulated event of a 70% drop in all collateral value, 80-90% of TARGET2 turnover would have been settled. The scenario results take also into account that the period under analysis was characterised by unconventional monetary policy measures.

No. 182
31 January 2017
Euro area fiscal stance

Abstract

JEL Classification

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

Abstract

This paper analyses the appropriateness of the euro area fiscal stance. In this context, the paper presents the relevant definitions and how the euro area fiscal stance has evolved over time. Furthermore, it contains an evaluation of the appropriateness of the euro area aggregated fiscal stance set out in the European Commission

No. 181
25 January 2017
Low inflation in the euro area: Causes and consequences

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

After 2012, inflation has been unexpectedly low across much of the developed world and economists speak of a

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that OPs are published in the name of the author(s). Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the ECB.