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Roberto Motto

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
10 September 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2587
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Abstract
We analyse the implications of asymmetric monetary policy rules by estimating Markov-switching DSGE models for the euro area (EA) and the US. The estimations show that until mid-2014 the ECB’s response to inflation was more forceful when inflation was above 2% than below 2%. Since then, the ECB’s policy can be characterised as symmetric, and we quantify the macroeconomic implications of this policy change. We uncover asymmetries also in the Fed’s policy, which has responded more strongly in times of crisis. We compute an optimal simple rule for the EA and the US in an environment with the effective lower bound and a low neutral real rate, and find that it prescribes a stronger response to inflation and the output gap when inflation is below target compared to when it is above target. We document its stabilisation properties had this optimal rule been implemented over the last two decades.
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
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
1 June 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2564
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Abstract
This paper provides new empirical evidence that bears on the efficacy of unconventional monetary policies when the main policy rate is negative. When a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) is deployed in concert with rate forward guidance (FG) and quantitative easing (QE), the identification of the impacts of these unconventional instruments of monetary policy is challenging. We propose a novel identification approach that seeks to overcome this challenge by combining a dense, controlled event study with forward curve counterfactuals that we construct using predictive rate densities derived from rate options. We find that NIRP has exerted a sizeable influence on the term structure of interest rates throughout maturities while, on net, the impact of rate FG has been more muted. QE explains the lion’s share of yield effects, particularly over the back end of the yield curve. We then feed these rate counterfactuals into a large-scale Bayesian VAR and generate alternative histories for the euro area macro-economy that one would likely have observed between 2013 and 2020 in no-NIRP (with or without FG) and in no-QE regimes. According to this conditional forecasting exercise, in 2019 GDP growth and annual inflation would have been 1.1 p.p. and 0.75 p.p. lower, respectively, and the unemployment rate 1.1 p.p. higher than they actually were, had the ECB abstained from using NIRP, FG and QE over the previous six years or so.
JEL Code
C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes
C54 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Quantitative Policy Modeling
C58 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Financial Econometrics
E50 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→General
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
19 May 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2555
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Abstract
This paper presents a toolkit for generating optimal policy projections. It makes five contributions. First, the toolkit requires a minimal set of inputs: only a baseline projection for target and instrument variables and impulse responses of those variables to policy shocks. Second, it solves optimal policy projections under commitment, limited-time commitment, and discretion. Third, it handles multiple policy instruments. Fourth, it handles multiple constraints on policy instruments such as a lower bound on the policy rate and an upper bound on asset purchases. Fifth, it allows alternative approaches to address the forward guidance puzzle. The toolkit that accompanies this paper is Dynare compatible, which facilitates its use. Examples replicate existing results in the optimal monetary policy literature and illustrate the usefulness of the toolkit for highlighting policy trade-offs. We use the toolkit to analyse US monetary policy at the height of the Great Financial Crisis. Given the Fed’s early-2009 baseline macroeconomic projections, we find the Fed’s planned use of the policy rate was close to optimal whereas a more aggressive QE program would have been beneficial.
JEL Code
C61 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling→Optimization Techniques, Programming Models, Dynamic Analysis
C63 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling→Computational Techniques, Simulation Modeling
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
22 July 2020
RESEARCH BULLETIN - No. 73
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Abstract
We map ECB policy communications onto yield curve changes and study the information flow on monetary policy decision dates. We find that different monetary policy measures exert effects on different segments of the interest rate term structure, with policy rate changes mostly influencing the short-end of the curve and quantitative easing measures acting more on the long-end. The impact of forward guidance policies, on the other hand, reaches its peak at intermediate maturities. A by-product of this work is the publicly available Euro Area Monetary Policy Event-Study Database (EA-MPD), containing intraday asset price changes.
JEL Code
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
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
19 December 2019
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2346
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Abstract
The 20th anniversary of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) offers an opportunity to look back on the ECB’s record and learn lessons that can improve the conduct of policy in the future. This paper charts the way the ECB has defined, interpreted and applied its monetary policy framework – its strategy – over the years from its inception, in search of evidence and lessons that can inform those reflections. Our “Tale of Two Decades” is largely a tale of “two regimes”: one – stretching slightly beyond the ECB’s mid-point – marked by decent growth in real incomes and a distribution of shocks to inflation almost universally to the upside; and the second – starting well into the post-Lehman period – characterised by endemic instability and crisis, with the distribution of shocks eventually switching from inflationary to continuously disinflationary. We show how the most defining element of the ECB’s monetary policy framework, its characteristic definition of price stability with a hard 2% ceiling, functioned as a key shock-absorber in the relatively high-inflation years prior to the crisis, but offered a softer defence in the face of the disinflationary forces that hit the euro area in its aftermath. The imperative to halt persistent disinflation in the post-crisis era therefore called for a radical, unprecedented policy response, comprising negative policy rates, enhanced forms of forward guidance, a large asset purchase programme and targeted long-term loans to banks. We study the multidimensional interactions among these four instruments and quantify their impact on inflation and economic activity.
JEL Code
E50 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→General
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
17 May 2019
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2281
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Abstract
We study the information flow from the ECB on policy dates since its inception, using tick data. We show that three factors capture about all of the variation in the yield curve but that these are different factors with different variance shares in the window that contains the policy decision announcement and the window that contains the press conference. We also show that the QE-related policy factor has been dominant in the recent period and that Forward Guidance and QE effects have been very persistent on the longer-end of the yield curve. We further show that broad and banking stock indices’ responses to monetary policy surprises depended on the perceived nature of the surprises. We find no evidence of asymmetric responses of financial markets to positive and negative surprises, in contrast to the literature on asymmetric real effects of monetary policy. Lastly, we show how to implement our methodology for any policy-related news release, such as policymaker speeches. To carry out the analysis, we construct the Euro Area Monetary Policy Event-Study Database (EA-MPD). This database, which contains intraday asset price changes around the policy decision announcement as well as around the press conference, is a contribution on its own right and we expect it to be the standard in monetary policy research for the euro area.
JEL Code
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
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
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates
G14 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Information and Market Efficiency, Event Studies, Insider Trading
Annexes
5 November 2015
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1864
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Abstract
We evaluate the effects on asset prices of the ECB asset purchase programme (APP) announced in January 2015 and assess its main transmission channels. We do so by first extending a term structure model with bond supply effects to account for assets with different types of risk premia. We then derive model-based predictions for cross-asset price movements associated with the transmission channels identified in the model. We finally validate empirically these predictions by means of an event- study methodology, reaching the following conclusions: The impact of the APP on asset prices is sizeable albeit the programme was announced at a time of low financial distress. This may appear puzzling in light of existing literature that finds a large impact of asset purchases only in periods of high financial distress. Consistent with the model, we explain this apparent puzzle by showing how the low financial distress, while indeed weakening certain transmission channels, has reinforced other channels because of its interplay with the asset composition of the programme. Targeting assets at long maturity and spanning the investment-grade space have supported the duration and the credit channels. At the same time, the low degree of financial stress prevailing at announcement of the programme, while weakening the local supply channel, has facilitated spill-overs to non-targeted assets.
JEL Code
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
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
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
E65 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
G14 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Information and Market Efficiency, Event Studies, Insider Trading
2 May 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1336
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Abstract
We evaluate the ECB's monetary policy strategy against the underlying economic structure of the euro area economy, in normal times and in times of severe financial dislocations. We show that in the years preceding the financial crisis that started in 2007 the strategy was successful at ensuring macroeconomic stability and steady growth despite shocks to the supply side and to the transmission mechanism which complicated the policy process. Emphasis on monetary indicators in the ECB's monetary policy strategy
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
20 May 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1192
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Abstract
We augment a standard monetary DSGE model to include a banking sector and financial markets. We fit the model to Euro Area and US data. We find that agency problems in financial contracts, liquidity constraints facing banks and shocks that alter the perception of market risk and hit financial intermediation — ‘financial factors’ in short — are prime determinants of economic fluctuations. They have been critical triggers and propagators in the recent financial crisis. Financial intermediation turns an otherwise diversifiable source of idiosyncratic economic uncertainty, the ‘risk shock’, into a systemic force.
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
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
C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General
G1 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G3 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance
31 October 2008
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 955
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Abstract
We explore the dynamic effects of news about a future technology improvement which turns out ex post to be overoptimistic. We find that it is difficult to generate a boom-bust cycle (a period in which stock prices, consumption, investment and employment all rise and then crash) in response to such a news shock, in a standard real business cycle model. However, a monetized version of the model which stresses sticky wages and a Taylorrule based monetary policy naturally generates a welfare-reducing boom-bust cycle in response to a news shock. We explore the possibility that integrating credit growth into monetary policy may result in improved performance. We discuss the robustness of our analysis to alternative specifications of the labor market, in which wage-setting frictions do not distort on going firm/worker relations.
JEL Code
C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General
C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
E13 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Neoclassical
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
11 July 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 774
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Abstract
The US Federal Reserve cut interest rates more vigorously in the recent recession than the European Central Bank did. By comparison with the Fed, the ECB followed a more measured course of action. We use an estimated dynamic general equilibrium model with financial frictions to show that comparisons based on such simple metrics as the variance of policy rates are misleading. We find that - because there is greater inertia in the ECB's policy rule - the ECB's policy actions actually had a greater stabilizing effect than did those of the Fed. As a consequence, a potentially severe recession turned out to be only a slowdown, and inflation never departed from levels consistent with the ECB's quantitative definition of price stability. Other factors that account for the different economic outcomes in the Euro Area and US include differences in shocks and differences in the degree of wage and price flexibility.
JEL Code
C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation
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
26 March 2004
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 326
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Abstract
We evaluate the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis that a more accommodative monetary policy could have greatly reduced the severity of the Great Depression. To do this, we first estimate a dynamic, general equilibrium model using data from the 1920s and 1930s. Although the model includes eight shocks, the story it tells about the Great Depression turns out to be a simple and familiar one. The contraction phase was primarily a consequence of a shock that induced a shift away from privately intermediated liabilities, such as demand deposits and liabilities that resemble equity, and towards currency. The slowness of the recovery from the Depression was due to a shock that increased the market power of workers. We identify a monetary base rule which responds only to the money demand shocks in the model. We solve the model with this counterfactual monetary policy rule. We then simulate the dynamic response of this model to all the estimated shocks. Based on the model analysis, we conclude that if the counterfactual policy rule had been in place in the 1930s, the Great Depression would have been relatively mild.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E40 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→General
E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers
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
N12 : Economic History→Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics, Industrial Structure, Growth, Fluctuations→U.S., Canada: 1913?