Research Bulletins published in 2018

No. 49
5 September 2018
What did forecasters learn during the European sovereign debt crisis about the impact of fiscal policies on economic growth?

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

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

H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General

H5 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

Abstract

Economists often try to forecast whether the economy as a whole will grow or contract. When measuring the effects of fiscal policy measures on economic activity, such forecasts are based on so-called multipliers. Using a new dataset compiled from economic forecasts and recommendations by the European Commission under the excessive deficit procedure of the Stability and Growth Pact, we derive the multipliers that were assumed by forecasters during the European sovereign debt crisis to project the effects of fiscal consolidation on economic growth. Our results confirm that forecasters adapted their assumptions on multipliers as the crisis progressed and accounted for larger effects of consolidation on growth later on in the crisis. Another finding is that the actual fiscal multipliers were not exceptionally large during the crisis.

No. 48
11 July 2018
Fiscal transfers without moral hazard?

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

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

E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy

Abstract

We present a euro area central stabilisation scheme that is relatively free from adverse incentives (moral hazard), because transfer payments to Member States are based on changes in world trade in the various economic sectors. Indeed, these changes are largely driven by external forces and therefore not directly controlled by individual governments or countries. The transfers generated by our scheme tend to be temporary, countercyclical and larger when economies are less diversified. Finally, the scheme is quite robust to revisions in the underlying export data.

No. 47
26 June 2018
Designing QE in a fiscally sound monetary union

Abstract

JEL Classification

E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

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

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

E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy

Abstract

In response to the global financial crisis the central banks of many advanced economies have adopted large-scale asset purchase programmes, with particular prominence given to purchases of sovereign debt. These programmes – often labelled as quantitative easing or QE – are intended to overcome the lower-bound constraint on short-term interest rates in an environment of persistently low inflation rates. This article offers a conceptual perspective on a number of design issues of QE that are specific to monetary unions. In general, design options for QE depend on the degree of institutional completeness of a monetary union. This is illustrated with findings from a stylised model of a monetary union which assumes an environment in which the central bank can always be assured that national fiscal policies are sustainable. Such setting is conducive to a particularly effective design of QE.

No. 46
16 May 2018
Price convergence in the EU: What can we learn from the car market?

Abstract

JEL Classification

F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms

L62 : Industrial Organization→Industry Studies: Manufacturing→Automobiles, Other Transportation Equipment

D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

Abstract

The dispersion of prices between Member States of the European Union (EU) is a popular indicator of the economic integration of the internal market. Car prices in the EU converged from the 1990s until the year 2003, after which this development ceased. The remaining price dispersion between countries is systematically linked to product features, reflecting manufacturer pricing-to-market.

No. 45
13 April 2018
The effective lower bound and the desirability of gradual interest rate adjustments

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

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

Abstract

The lower bound on nominal interest rates makes it desirable for monetary policy to aim for gradual adjustments of the policy rate in addition to the stabilisation of inflation and the output gap.

No. 44
19 March 2018
Do consumers respond symmetrically to positive and negative income shocks?

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

Abstract

Recent research finds that consumers respond more strongly to negative than to positive transitory income shocks, for example, a temporary income tax increase as opposed to a one-off bonus payment. It also suggests that the response can depend on the size of the change in income. These findings lend empirical support to economic models that incorporate liquidity constraints and precautionary saving.

No. 43
13 February 2018
Bank lending under negative policy rates

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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

G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General

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

Abstract

This article shows how the pass-through of negative policy rates via bank lending depends on a bank’s funding structure. When policy rates enter negative territory, high-deposit banks increase risk-taking but reduce lending in the syndicated loan market relative to low-deposit banks. The increase in risk-taking reduces financial constraints for higher risk firms.

No. 42
11 January 2018
Sub-sovereign bonds in banks’ portfolios: A role for political connections?

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

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

P16 : Economic Systems→Capitalist Systems→Political Economy

Abstract

This article shows that German savings banks appear to increase their holdings of bonds issued by their respective Bundesland (federal state) government if as a result of an election, the local governments at Bundesland and at Kreis (county) level are no longer dominated by the same party. This behaviour is not consistent with other known reasons why banks hold government debt, such as compliance with regulation, the tendency to accumulate risky assets when close to bankruptcy, or political pressure. Instead, we argue that in the wake of a post-election loss of political connections along party lines, local government-owned banks use purchases of sub-sovereign bonds to keep communication channels with state politicians open, a mechanism akin to lobbying.