- 21 September 2021
- OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 275Details
- 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. 269Details
- 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
- 7 December 2012
- OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 139Details
- The onset of the financial crisis in 2008 has highlighted the problems of diverging external imbalances within Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the role of persistent losses in competitiveness. This paper starts by investigating some of the competitiveness factors which contributed to external imbalances in euro area countries. The evidence suggests significant heterogeneity across countries in both price/cost and non-price competitiveness in the euro area and that there is no one factor, but rather a range of potential factors explaining diverging external imbalances. In particular, while non-price competitiveness effects contributed largely to the trade surplus in some countries, for some southern European countries the trade balance was also driven by price factors. The second part of the paper studies the implications of competitiveness adjustment by means of quantitative tools. Using four different multi-country macro models, improvements in both price/cost aspects (namely wage reduction, productivity improvements or fiscal devaluation) and non-price competitiveness factors (quality improvements) were shown - under certain conditions - to improve external imbalances. The analysis suggests differences in countries' composition of trade could lead to heterogeneity in the potential gains from improvements in competitiveness.
- JEL Code
- F10 : International Economics→Trade→General
F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics
F43 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Economic Growth of Open Economies
F47 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
O52 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Europe