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Domingos Seward

17 July 2023
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 319
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Abstract
This paper documents five stylised facts relating to price adjustment in the euro area, using various micro price datasets collected in a period with relatively low and stable inflation. First, price changes are infrequent in the core sectors. On average, 12% of consumer prices change each month, falling to 8.5% when sales prices are excluded. The frequency of producer price adjustment is greater (25%), reflecting that the prices of intermediate goods and energy are more flexible. For both consumer and producer prices, cross-sectoral heterogeneity is more pronounced than cross-country heterogeneity. Second, price changes tend to be large and heterogeneous. For consumer prices, the typical absolute price change is about 10%, and the distribution of price changes shows a broad dispersion. For producer prices, the typical absolute price change is smaller, but nevertheless larger than inflation. Third, price setting is mildly state-dependent: the probability of price adjustment rises with the size of price misalignment, mainly reflecting idiosyncratic shocks, but it does not increase very sharply. Fourth, for both consumer and producer prices, the repricing rate showed no trend in the period 2005-19 but was more volatile in the short run. Fifth, small cyclical variations in frequency did not contribute much to fluctuations in aggregate inflation, which instead mainly reflected shifts in the average size of price changes. Consistent with idiosyncratic shocks as the main driver of price changes, aggregate disturbances affected inflation by shifting the relative number of firms increasing or decreasing their prices, rather than the size of price increases and decreases.
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
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