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Erwan Gautier

8 February 2024
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 338
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Abstract
This paper introduces innovative, newly developed forward-looking indicators of negotiated wage growth in the euro area using data on collective bargaining agreements from seven countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece. The paper demonstrates how agreement-level data can be used to study drivers of aggregate negotiated wage growth, as well as monitor the breadth of wage increases and account for time-varying factors such as one-off payments, when assessing wage pressures. Lastly, the paper shows that the new indicators can provide reliable signals about current and future developments of wage pressures in the euro area while also serving as important cross-checking tools for negotiated wage growth forecasts.
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
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
J50 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→General
17 July 2023
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 321
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Abstract
This paper analyses the implications of the evidence on micro price setting gathered by Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA) for inflation dynamics and monetary policy, relying on calibrated models and direct empirical evidence. According to models calibrated to the euro area micro evidence in Gautier et al. (2022, 2023), infrequent price changes and moderate state dependence in price setting should result in a meaningful Phillips curve in the euro area. Empirical estimates of the Phillips curve during the low-inflation period confirm previous findings of a relatively flat but stable slope. This estimated flat slope reflects both infrequent and subdued price adjustment in response to aggregate shocks, i.e. the presence of nominal and real rigidities. Model-based simulations show that, due to non-linearities in price setting, changes in trend inflation above 5-6% would have significant effects on the euro area Phillips curve. Similarly, shocks to nominal costs larger than 15% would result in non-linear effects on inflation dynamics in calibrated models. In line with these simulations, recent micro evidence suggests that the return of higher and more volatile inflation seems to be associated with higher frequencies of price changes, mainly because the frequency of price increases rises with the level and volatility of inflation.
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
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
17 June 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2669
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Abstract
Using CPI micro data for 11 euro area countries covering about 60% of the euro area consumption basket over the period 2010-2019, we document new findings on consumer price rigidity in the euro area: (i) each month on average 12.3% of prices change, which compares with 19.3% in the United States; when we exclude price changes due to sales, however, the proportion of prices adjusted each month is 8.5% in the euro area versus 10% in the United States; (ii) differences in price rigidity are rather limited across euro area countries but much larger across sectors; (iii) the median price increase (resp. decrease) is 9.6% (13%) when including sales and 6.7% (8.7%) when excluding sales; cross-country heterogeneity is more pronounced for the size than for the frequency of price changes; (iv) the distribution of price changes is highly dispersed: 14% of price changes in absolute values are lower than 2% whereas 10% are above 20%; (v) the overall frequency of price changes does not change much with inflation and does not react much to aggregate shocks; (vi) changes in inflation are mostly driven by movements in the overall size; when decomposing the overall size, changes in the share of price increases among all changes matter more than movements in the size of price increases or the size of price decreases. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a menu cost model in a low inflation environment where idiosyncratic shocks are a more relevant driver of price adjustment than aggregate shocks.
JEL Code
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA)
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
21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 266
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Abstract
The digitalisation workstream report analyses the degree of digital adoption across the euro area and EU countries and the implications of digitalisation for measurement, productivity, labour markets and inflation, as well as more recent developments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and their implications. Analysis of these key issues and variables is aimed at improving our understanding of the implications of digitalisation for monetary policy and its transmission. The degree of digital adoption differs across the euro area/EU, implying heterogeneous impacts, with most EU economies currently lagging behind the United States and Japan. Rising digitalisation has rendered price measurement more challenging, owing to, among other things, faster changes in products and product quality, but also new ways of price setting, e.g. dynamic or customised pricing, and services that were previously payable but are now “free”. Despite the spread of digital technologies, aggregate productivity growth has decreased in most advanced economies since the 1970s. However, it is likely that without the spread of digital technologies the productivity slowdown would have been even more pronounced, and the recent acceleration in digitalisation is likely to boost future productivity gains from digitalisation. Digitalisation has spurred greater automation, with temporary labour market disruptions, albeit unevenly across sectors. The long-run employment effects of digitalisation can be benign, but its effects on wages and labour share depend on the structure of the economy and its labour market institutions. The pandemic has accelerated the use of teleworking: roughly every third job in the euro area/EU is teleworkable, although there are differences across countries. ...
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
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
O33 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→Technological Change: Choices and Consequences, Diffusion Processes
O57 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Comparative Studies of Countries
21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 265
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Abstract
This paper – which takes into consideration overall experience with the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) as well as the improvements made to this measure of inflation since 2003 – finds that the HICP continues to fulfil the prerequisites for the index underlying the ECB’s definition of price stability. Nonetheless, there is scope for enhancing the HICP, especially by including owner-occupied housing (OOH) using the net acquisitions approach. Filling this long-standing gap is of utmost importance to increase the coverage and cross-country comparability of the HICP. In addition to integrating OOH into the HICP, further improvements would be welcome in harmonisation, especially regarding the treatment of product replacement and quality adjustment. Such measures may also help reduce the measurement bias that still exists in the HICP. Overall, a knowledge gap concerning the exact size of the measurement bias of the HICP remains, which calls for further research. More generally, the paper also finds that auxiliary inflation measures can play an important role in the ECB’s economic and monetary analyses. This applies not only to analytical series including OOH, but also to measures of underlying inflation or a cost of living index.
JEL Code
C43 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Index Numbers and Aggregation
C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
C82 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data, Data Access
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
27 July 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2575
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Abstract
Using micro price data underlying the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices in France, Germany and Italy, we estimate relative price trends over the product life cycle and show that minimizing price and mark-up distortions in the presence of these trends requires targeting a significantly positive inflation target. Relative price trends shift the optimal inflation target up from a level of zero percent, as suggested by the standard sticky price literature, to a range of 1.1%- 2.1% in France, 1.2%-2.0% in Germany, 0.8%-1.0% in Italy, and 1.1-1.7% in the Euro Area (three country average). Differences across countries emerge due to systematic differences in the strength of relative price trends. Other considerations not taken into account in the present paper may push up the optimal inflation targets further. The welfare costs associated with targeting zero inflation turn out to be substantial and range between 2.1% and 4.5% of consumption in present-value terms.
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
Network
Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA)
16 June 2010
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 113
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Abstract
This report aims to analyse euro area energy markets and the impact of energy price changes on the macroeconomy from a monetary policy perspective. The core task of the report is to analyse the impact of energy price developments on output and consumer prices. Nevertheless, understanding the link between energy price fluctuations, inflationary pressures and the role of monetary policy in reacting to such pressure requires a deeper look at the structure of the economy. Energy prices have presented a challenge for the Eurosystem, as the volatility of the energy component of consumer prices has been high since the creation of EMU. At the same time, a look back into the past may not necessarily be very informative for gauging the likely impact of energy price changes on overall inflation in the future. For instance, the reaction of HICP inflation to energy price fluctuations seems to have been more muted during the past decade than in earlier periods such as the 1970s.
JEL Code
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
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
Network
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network
2 December 2008
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 974
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Abstract
This paper presents information on wage bargaining institutions, collected using a standardised questionnaire. Our data provide information from 1995 and 2006, for four sectors of activity and the aggregate economy, considering 23 European countries, plus the US and Japan. Main findings include a high degree of regulation in wage setting in most countries. Although union membership is low in many countries, union coverage is high and almost all countries also have some form of national minimum wage. Most countries negotiate wages on several levels, the sectoral level still being the most dominant, with an increasingly important role for bargaining at the firm level. The average length of collective bargaining agreements is found to lie between one and three years. Most agreements are strongly driven by developments in prices and eleven countries have some form of indexation mechanism which affects wages. Cluster analysis identifies three country groupings of wage-setting institutions.
JEL Code
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
J38 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Public Policy
J51 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
J58 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining→Public Policy
Network
Wage dynamics network
14 February 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 727
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Abstract
This paper documents producer price setting in 6 countries of the euro area: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. It collects evidence from available studies on each of those countries and also provides new evidence. These studies use monthly producer price data. The following five stylised facts emerge consistently across countries. First, producer prices change infrequently: each month around 21% of prices change. Second, there is substantial cross-sector heterogeneity in the frequency of price changes: prices change very often in the energy sector, less often in food and intermediate goods and least often in non-durable non-food and durable goods. Third, countries have a similar ranking of industries in terms of frequency of price changes. Fourth, there is no evidence of downward nominal rigidity: price changes are for about 45% decreases and 55% increases. Fifth, price changes are sizeable compared to the inflation rate. The paper also examines the factors driving producer price changes. It finds that costs structure, competition, seasonality, inflation and attractive pricing all play a role in driving producer price changes. In addition producer prices tend to be more flexible than consumer prices.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
20 December 2006
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 699
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Abstract
This paper provides some new empirical features on price setting behaviour for French producers using micro data underlying the producer and business-services price indices over the period 1994-2005. Some crucial methodological issues on the collection of producer prices are raised. Then, the main features of producers' price setting are presented: producer prices are modified quite frequently and by small amounts. A high heterogeneity across sectors is also observed: business-services prices change less often than industrial producer prices. The data lend some support to predictions of both time- and state-dependence models: Taylor contracts are not unusual but prices also respond to the changes in the firm's economic conditions. Nevertheless, time-dependent models are shown to be the most relevant theories to explain the producer price rigidity.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D43 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
L16 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics: Industrial Structure and Structural Change, Industrial Price Indices
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network