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Hervé Le Bihan

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
16 May 2008
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 893
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Abstract
This paper documents nominal wage stickiness using an original quarterly firm-level dataset. We use the ACEMO survey, which reports the base wage for up to 12 employee categories in French firms over the period 1998 to 2005, and obtain the following main results. First, the quarterly frequency of wage change is around 35 percent. Second, there is some downward rigidity in the base wage. Third, wage changes are mainly synchronized within firms but to a large extent staggered across firms. Fourth, standard Calvo or Taylor schemes fail to match micro wage adjustment patterns, but fixed duration "Taylor-like" wage contracts are observed for a minority of firms. Based on a two-thresholds sample selection model, we perform an econometric analysis of wage changes. Our results suggest that the timing of wage adjustments is not state-dependent, and are consistent with existence of predetermined of wage changes. They also suggest that both backward- and forward-looking behaviour is relevant in wage setting.
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
J3 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
Network
Wage dynamics network
14 December 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 563
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Abstract
This paper presents original evidence on price setting in the euro area at the individual level. We use micro data on consumer (CPI) and producer (PPI) prices, as well as survey information. Our main findings are: (i) prices in the euro area are sticky and more so than in the US; (ii) there is evidence of heterogeneity and of asymmetries in price setting behaviour; (iii) downward price rigidity is only slightly more marked than upward price rigidity and (iv) implicit or explicit contracts and coordination failure theories are important, whereas menu or information costs are judged much less relevant by firms.
JEL Code
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
21 October 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 536
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Abstract
This paper examines heterogeneity in price stickiness using a large, original, set of individual price data collected at the retail level for the computation of the French CPI. To that end, we estimate, at a very high level of disaggregation, competing-risks duration models that distinguish between price increases, price decreases and product replacements. The main findings are the following: i ) cross-product and cross-outlet-type heterogeneity in both the shape of the hazard function and the impact of covariates is pervasive ii) at the product-outlet type level, the baseline hazard function of a price spell is non-decreasing iii ) there is strong evidence of state dependence, especially for price increases.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
C41 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Duration Analysis, Optimal Timing Strategies
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
14 September 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 524
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Abstract
This paper documents patterns of price setting at the retail level in the euro area, summarized in six stylized facts. First, the average euro area monthly frequency of price adjustment is 15 p.c., compared to about 25 p.c. in the US. Second, the frequency of price changes is characterized by substantial cross product heterogeneity - prices of oil and unprocessed food products change very often, while price adjustments are less frequent for processed food, non energy industrial goods and services. Third, cross country heterogeneity exists but is less pronounced. Fourth, price decreases are not uncommon. Fifth, price increases and decreases are sizeable compared to aggregate and sectoral inflation rates. Sixth, price changes are not highly synchronized across retailers. Moreover, the frequency of price changes in the euro area is related to several factors, such as seasonality, outlet type, indirect taxation, pricing practices as well as aggregate or product specific inflation.
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
Annexes
27 August 2004
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 384
Details
Abstract
Based upon a large fraction of the price records used for computing the French CPI, we document consumer price rigidity in France. We first provide a methodological discussion of issues involved in estimating average price duration with micro-data. The average duration of prices in the sectors covered by the database (65% of CPI) is then found to be around 8 months. A strong heterogeneity across sectors both in the average duration of prices and in the pattern of price setting is reported. There is no clear evidence of downward nominal rigidity, since price cuts are almost as frequent as price rises. Moreover, the average size of a change in price is quite large in both cases. Overall, while our results do not entail a clear conclusion about the existence of menu costs, there is evidence of both time-dependent and state-dependent price setting behaviors by retailers.
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
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network