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Dominik Thaler

16 January 2024
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2890
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Abstract
This paper analyzes the link between monetary policy and capital misallocation in a New Keynesian model with heterogeneous firms and financial frictions. In the model, firms with a high return to capital increase their investment more strongly in response to a monetary policy expansion, thus reducing misallocation. This feature creates a new time-inconsistent incentive for the central bank to engineer an unexpected monetary expansion to temporarily reduce misallocation. However, price stability is the optimal timeless response to demand, financial or TFP shocks. Finally, we present firm-level evidence supporting the theoretical mechanism.
JEL Code
E12 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Keynes, Keynesian, Post-Keynesian
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
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
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
8 November 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2869
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Abstract
The feedback loop between sovereign and financial sector insolvency has been identified as a key driver of the European debt crisis and has motivated an array of policy proposals. We revisit this “doom loop” focusing on governments’ incentives to default. To this end, we present a simple 3-period model with strategic sovereign default, where debt is held by domestic banks and foreign investors. The government maximizes domestic welfare, and thus the temptation to default increases with externally-held debt. Importantly, the costs of default arise endogenously from the damage that default causes to domestic banks’ balance sheets. Domestically-held debt thus serves as a commitment device for the government. We show that two prominent policy prescriptions – lower exposure of banks to domestic sovereign debt or a commitment not to bailout banks – can backfire, since default incentives depend not only on the quantity of debt, but also on who holds it. Conversely, allowing banks to buy additional sovereign debt in times of sovereign distress can avert the doom loop. In an extension we show that in the context of a monetary union (such as the euro area) similar unintended negative consequences may arise from the pooling of debt (such as European safe bond aka. ESBies). A backstop by the central bank (such as the ECB’s Transmission Protection Instrument) can successfully disable the loop if precisely calibrated.
JEL Code
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E6 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems
6 February 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2772
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Abstract
Empirical research suggests that lower interest rates induce banks to take higher risks. We assess analytically what this risk-taking channel implies for optimal monetary policy in a tractable New Keynesian model. We show that this channel creates a motive for the planner to stabilize the real rate. This objective conflicts with the standard inflation stabilization objective. Optimal policy thus tolerates more inflation volatility. An inertial Taylor-type reaction function becomes optimal. We then quantify the significance of the risk-taking channel for monetary policy in an estimated medium-scale extension of the model. Ignoring the channel when designing policy entails non-negligible welfare costs (0.7%lifetime consumption equivalent).
JEL Code
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
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. 269
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Abstract
The ECB’s price stability mandate has been defined by the Treaty. But the Treaty has not spelled out what price stability precisely means. To make the mandate operational, the Governing Council has provided a quantitative definition in 1998 and a clarification in 2003. The landscape has changed notably compared to the time the strategy review was originally designed. At the time, the main concern of the Governing Council was to anchor inflation at low levels in face of the inflationary history of the previous decades. Over the last decade economic conditions have changed dramatically: the persistent low-inflation environment has created the concrete risk of de-anchoring of longer-term inflation expectations. Addressing low inflation is different from addressing high inflation. The ability of the ECB (and central banks globally) to provide the necessary accommodation to maintain price stability has been tested by the lower bound on nominal interest rates in the context of the secular decline in the equilibrium real interest rate. Against this backdrop, this report analyses: the ECB’s performance as measured against its formulation of price stability; whether it is possible to identify a preferred level of steady-state inflation on the basis of optimality considerations; advantages and disadvantages of formulating the objective in terms of a focal point or a range, or having both; whether the medium-term orientation of the ECB’s policy can serve as a mechanism to cater for other considerations; how to strengthen, in the presence of the lower bound, the ECB’s leverage on private-sector expectations for inflation and the ECB’s future policy actions so that expectations can act as ‘automatic stabilisers’ and work alongside the central bank.
JEL Code
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