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Giovanni L. Violante

20 February 2024
RESEARCH BULLETIN - No. 116
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Abstract
The 2021-22 surprise inflation surge had a major impact on households in the euro area. It reduced the real incomes and net wealth of most households as there was no immediate increase in nominal wages and pensions, nominal house prices and the nominal value of bonds, deposits, cash and debt following the rise in the price level. This influenced households’ present and future consumption and therefore their welfare. Although poorer households suffered most from the reduction in the purchasing power of their income, overall welfare losses were especially large for retirees because of the fall in the real value of their relatively large holdings of nominal assets. Conversely, younger and heavily indebted households benefited from the reduction in the real value of their liabilities. In this sense, this inflation episode mimicked an age-dependent tax. Indeed, not everyone was a net loser: while about 70% of households suffered a loss, the rest enjoyed moderate gains.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
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 November 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2877
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Abstract
We measure the heterogeneous welfare effects of the recent inflation surge across households in the Euro Area. A simple framework illustrating the numerous channels of the transmission mechanism of surprise inflation to household welfare guides our empirical exercise. By combining micro data and aggregate time series, we conclude that: (i) country-level average welfare costs –expressed as a share of 2021–22 income– were larger than a typical recession, and heterogeneous, e.g., 3% in France and 8% in Italy; (ii) this inflation episode resembles an age-dependent tax, with the elderly losing up to 20%, and roughly half of the 25–44 year-old winning; (iii) losses were quite uniform across consumption quantiles because rigid rents served as a hedge for the poor; (iv) nominal net positions are the key driver of heterogeneity across-households; (v) the rise in energy prices generated vast variation in individual-level inflation rates, but unconventional fiscal policies were critical in shielding the most vulnerable households.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
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
18 July 2018
DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES - No. 6
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Abstract
This paper considers how monetary policy produces heterogeneous effects on euro area households, depending on the composition of their income and on the components of their wealth. We first review the existing evidence on how monetary policy affects income and wealth inequality. We then illustrate quantitatively how various channels of transmission—net interest rate exposure, intertemporal substitution and indirect income channels—affect individual euro area households. We find that the indirect income channel has an overwhelming importance, especially for households holding few or no liquid assets. The indirect income channel is therefore also a substantial driver of changes in consumption at the aggregate level.
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
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
18 July 2018
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2170
Details
Abstract
This paper considers how monetary policy produces heterogeneous effects on euro area households, depending on the composition of their income and on the components of their wealth. We first review the existing evidence on how monetary policy affects income and wealth inequality. We then illustrate quantitatively how various channels of transmission — net interest rate exposure, inter-temporal substitution and indirect income channels — affect individual euro area households. We find that the indirect income channel has an overwhelming importance, especially for households holding few or no liquid assets. The indirect income channel is therefore also a substantial driver of changes in consumption at the aggregate level.
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
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
Network
Discussion papers
27 April 2016
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1899
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Abstract
We revisit the transmission mechanism of monetary policy for household consumption in a Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) model. The model yields empirically realistic distributions of household wealth and marginal propensities to consume because of two key features: multiple assets with different degrees of liquidity and an idiosyncratic income process with leptokurtic income changes. In this environment, the indirect effects of an unexpected cut in interest rates, which operate through a general equilibrium increase in labor demand, far outweigh direct effects such as intertemporal substitution. This finding is in stark contrast to small- and medium-scale Representative Agent New Keynesian (RANK) economies, where intertemporal substitution drives virtually all of the transmission from interest rates to consumption.
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)