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Béla Szörfi

27 February 2024
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 341
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Abstract
This paper studies the short-term and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for productivity in Europe. Aggregate and sectoral evidence is complemented by firm-level data-based findings obtained from a large micro-distributed exercise. Productivity trends during the COVID-19 pandemic differed from past trends. Labour productivity per hour worked temporarily increased, while productivity per employee declined across sectors given the widespread use of job retention schemes. The extensive margin of productivity growth was muted to some degree by the policy support granted to firms. Firm entries declined while firm exits increased much less than during previous crises. The pandemic had a significant impact on the intensive margin of productivity growth and led to a temporary drop in within-firm productivity per employee and increased reallocation. Job reallocation was productivity-enhancing but subdued compared to the Great Recession. As confirmed by a granular data analysis of the distribution of employment subsidies and loan guarantees and moratoria, job reallocation and also debt distribution and“zombie firm” prevalence were not significantly affected by the COVID-19 policy support. The pandemic and related lockdowns accelerated changes in consumer preferences and working habits with potential long-term effects. Generous government support muted the surge in unemployment and reduced permanent scarring effects.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
H25 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Business Taxes and Subsidies
J38 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Public Policy
O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence
11 January 2024
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 8, 2023
Last updated on 30 January 2024
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Abstract
According to the estimates of major international institutions, the euro area output gap remained negative or very close to zero in the aftermath of the pandemic and at the onset of the war in Ukraine, despite the rise in euro area core inflation. This contrasts with most available historical data, which show a positive association of a rise in inflation above its medium-run average with an increase in the output gap. This may reflect the fact that demand shocks have historically had a larger effect on the business cycle relative to supply shocks. However, the shocks that hit the euro area after 2020 – disruptions in supply chains and significant increases in input prices – predominantly came from the supply side of the economy. This box explores how accounting for the role of temporary supply shocks in determining potential output can restore the positive association of the output gap with high inflation after 2020. First, the box discusses the concept of potential output as used by most international organisations. It then looks at indicators that could capture recent exceptional demand and supply conditions. Lastly, using information on these indicators, the box proposes complementary slack measures that better reflect inflationary pressures in times of temporary supply shocks.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
9 September 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2717
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Abstract
The COVID-19 crisis has affected economic sectors very heterogeneously, with possible risks for permanent losses in some sectors. This paper presents a sectoral-level, bottom-up method to estimate euro area potential output in order to assess the impact of the crisis on it. The estimates are based on a supply-demand shock decomposition and are meant to quantitatively support the estimation of scarring effects stemming from the pandemic. The results show that sectors of “trade, transport and accommodation”, “other services” and “industry” may suffer a loss in trend output of around 1.4-1.6% by 2025. Aggregate potential output in 2025 might be about 0.8% lower than it would have been without the crisis, and importantly, without support from the Next Generation EU (NGEU), signalling somewhat larger losses than embedded in the Autumn 2021 forecast of the European Commission (which takes the NGEU into account).
JEL Code
C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes
D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
1 August 2022
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 5, 2022
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Abstract
Oil prices spiked in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have been volatile ever since. As the current increase in oil prices mainly reflects supply-side factors, it could also affect potential output. This box uses several approaches to assess the channels through which oil price hikes have an impact on potential output and to estimate the possible magnitude of the impact of the current shock. The quantitative estimates proposed should be regarded with caution given the current volatility in the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil and the uncertainty surrounding the amplitude of the shock, which will depend on how the conflict develops.
JEL Code
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
Q41 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Energy→Demand and Supply, Prices
10 November 2021
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 7, 2021
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Abstract
The growth of euro area labour productivity, measured by real GDP per hour worked, increased at the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic before declining during the subsequent economic recovery. This contradicts the general notion of productivity being procyclical and reflects the unique nature of this crisis. This box discusses the recent patterns in labour productivity and considers the extent to which some of these developments might fade or consolidate after the crisis.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity
D61 : Microeconomics→Welfare Economics→Allocative Efficiency, Cost?Benefit Analysis
O33 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→Technological Change: Choices and Consequences, Diffusion Processes
O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence
O52 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Europe
10 November 2021
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 7, 2021
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Abstract
Productivity plays a key role in the economic resilience and social welfare of countries. Central bankers are also interested in higher productivity growth because it would contribute to increasing the natural rate of interest and, therefore, the effectiveness of monetary policy, its room for manoeuvre and its transmission to the economy. With this monetary policy perspective in mind, this article aims to show key productivity trends and drivers over the past few decades in the euro area. The article is complemented by Box 4 in this issue of the Economic Bulletin, which presents preliminary evidence on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and of policy responses to it, on productivity in the euro area.
JEL Code
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity
D61 : Microeconomics→Welfare Economics→Allocative Efficiency, Cost?Benefit Analysis
O33 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→Technological Change: Choices and Consequences, Diffusion Processes
O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence
O52 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Europe
21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 275
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Abstract
This report discusses the role of the European Union’s full employment objective in the conduct of the ECB’s monetary policy. It first reviews a range of indicators of full employment, highlights the heterogeneity of labour market outcomes within different groups in the population and across countries, and documents the flatness of the Phillips curve in the euro area. In this context, it is stressed that labour market structures and trend labour market outcomes are primarily determined by national economic policies. The report then recalls that, in many circumstances, inflation and employment move together and pursuing price stability is conducive to supporting employment. However, in response to economic shocks that give rise to a temporary trade-off between employment and inflation stabilisation, the ECB’s medium-term orientation in pursuing price stability is shown to provide flexibility to contribute to the achievement of the EU’s full employment objective. Regarding the conduct of monetary policy in a low interest rate environment, model-based simulations suggest that history-dependent policy approaches − which have been proposed to overcome lasting shortfalls of inflation due to the effective lower bound on nominal interest rates by a more persistent policy response to disinflationary shocks − can help to bring employment closer to full employment, even though their effectiveness depends on the strength of the postulated expectations channels. Finally, the importance of employment income and wealth inequality in the transmission of monetary policy strengthens the case for more persistent or forceful easing policies (in pursuit of price stability) when interest rates are constrained by their lower bound.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 267
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Abstract
This paper provides an assessment of the macroeconomic models regularly used for forecasting and policy analysis in the Eurosystem. These include semi-structural, structural and time-series models covering specific jurisdictions and the euro area within a closed economy, small open economy, multi-country or global setting. Models are used as analytical frameworks for building baseline projections and for supporting the preparation of monetary policy decisions. The paper delivers four main contributions. First, it provides a survey of the macroeconomic modelling portfolios currently used or under development within the Eurosystem. Second, it explores the analytical gaps in the Eurosystem models and investigates the scope for further enhancement of the main projection and policy models, and the creation of new models. Third, it reviews current practices in model-based analysis for monetary policy preparation and forecasting and provides recommendations and suggestions for improvement. Finally, it reviews existing cooperation modalities on model development and proposes alternative sourcing and organisational strategies to remedy any knowledge or analytical gaps identified.
JEL Code
C5 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling
E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
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
F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
10 November 2020
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 7, 2020
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Abstract
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic almost certainly affected potential output negatively via various channels, affecting the trends of total factor productivity, capital and labour. Quantitative estimates show that euro area potential growth will likely stall or even decline in 2020 and the pace of the recovery is highly uncertain, as it depends on whether the shock is temporary or persistent. Comprehensive policy measures are playing a crucial role in preventing hysteresis in the euro area economy and long-term economic scarring.
JEL Code
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
O11 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O40 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→General
5 November 2018
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 7, 2018
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Abstract
Potential output is typically seen by economic analysts as the highest level of economic activity that can be sustained over the long term. Changes in potential output can be driven by factors such as labour supply, capital investment and technological innovation. Recent estimates by international institutions suggest that the euro area economy is currently operating close to its potential. The ongoing economic expansion appears to have largely absorbed the spare capacity created by the global financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis. At the same time, the estimated rate of potential output growth also appears to have recovered most of its pre-crisis momentum, underpinned mainly by an expansion of the labour force, a decline in trend unemployment and stronger productivity gains. Looking ahead, projections by international institutions suggest that actual euro area GDP growth will continue to outpace potential growth in the near term. Hence, supply constraints are likely to become increasingly binding going forward, which would be conducive to a gradual strengthening of euro area inflation.
JEL Code
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
10 May 2018
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - BOX
Economic Bulletin Issue 3, 2018
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Abstract
This box aims to illustrate the difficulties in measuring slack in the euro area economy and the high uncertainty surrounding the estimates. A model-based estimate illustrates the point by suggesting an output gap that is close to zero, although surrounded by a high degree of uncertainty. Recent labour supply shocks are likely to be supporting the growth of both potential and actual output. The broad measure of labour underutilisation suggests that slack was larger during the financial crisis and over the recovery than indicated by the headline unemployment rate.
JEL Code
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
J20 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→General
J64 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
6 February 2015
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 159
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Abstract
The global financial and economic crisis
JEL Code
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
J08 : Labor and Demographic Economics→General→Labor Economics Policies
J21 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
J23 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Labor Demand
J24 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Human Capital, Skills, Occupational Choice, Labor Productivity
J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General
J61 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→Geographic Labor Mobility, Immigrant Workers
J63 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→Turnover, Vacancies, Layoffs
J64 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
3 November 2014
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 156
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Abstract
This paper reviews potential output from a euro area perspective by summarising the developments according to international institutions and assessing the impact of the crisis. The paper also considers the methodological basis for potential output estimates, and the high degree of uncertainty that surrounds them. Although it is too early to see the full effects of structural reforms implemented since 2007/08, further structural reforms are needed to support euro area potential growth, especially in view of the negative impact that population ageing is expected to have on potential growth in the future.
JEL Code
E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production
E25 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
O49 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Other