Working papers published in 2011

In-depth studies for experts

Our Working Paper Series (WPS) disseminates economic research relevant to the various tasks and functions of the ECB, and provides a conceptual and empirical basis for policy-making. The Working Papers constitute “work in progress”. They are published to stimulate discussion and contribute to the advancement of our knowledge of economic matters. They are addressed to experts, so readers should be knowledgeable in economics.

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No. 1411
20 December 2011
Government bond risk premia and the cyclicality of fiscal policy

Abstract

JEL Classification

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

E6 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

G1 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets

Abstract

We introduce a specification of habit formation featuring non-separability between consumption and leisure into an otherwise standard New Keynesian model. The model can be estimated with standard Bayesian techniques and the bond pricing implications are evaluated using higher-order approximations. The model is able to reproduce a sizeable risk premium on long-term bonds and the cyclicality of fiscal policy has an impact on the bond premium that is quantitatively important. Technology, government spending, and mark-up shocks are the main drivers of the time-variation in bond premia.

No. 1410
20 December 2011
Profit dynamics across the largest euro area countries and sectors

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production

E25 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

Abstract

This paper explores the behavior of profits in the four largest euro area countries (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) and the euro area as a whole, while at the same time considering three main sectors (manufacturing, construction and services) in each economy over the period 1988–2010. The paper presents stylized facts about profit developments and, applying a vector autoregressive modeling framework, discusses the sensitivity of profits to four distinctive structural shocks (a demand shock, an employment shock, a wage and price mark-up shocks). In addition, it provides the shock decomposition of historical developments in profits across countries and sectors.

No. 1409
20 December 2011
Analysis of variance for bayesian inference
Published in: Econometric Reviews, 2012 (forthcoming)

Abstract

JEL Classification

C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

Abstract

This paper develops a multi-way analysis of variance for non-Gaussian multivariate distributions and provides a practical simulation algorithm to estimate the corresponding components of variance. It specifically addresses variance in Bayesian predictive distributions, showing that it may be decomposed into the sum of extrinsic variance, arising from posterior uncertainty about parameters, and intrinsic variance, which would exist even if parameters were known. Depending on the application at hand, further decomposition of extrinsic or intrinsic variance (or both) may be useful. The paper shows how to produce simulation-consistent estimates of all of these components, and the method demands little additional effort or computing time beyond that already invested in the posterior simulator. It illustrates the methods using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the US economy, both before and during the global financial crisis.

No. 1408
13 December 2011
Real-time data and fiscal policy analysis: a survey of the literature

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General

H68 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

Abstract

This paper surveys the empirical research on fiscal policy analysis based on real-time data. This literature can be broadly divided in three groups that focus on: (1) the statistical properties of revisions in fiscal data; (2) the political and institutional determinants of projection errors by governments and (3) the reaction of fiscal policies to the business cycle. It emerges that, first, fiscal data revisions are large and initial releases are biased estimates of final values. Second, the presence of strong fiscal rules and institutions leads to relatively more accurate releases of fiscal data and small deviations of fiscal outcomes from government plans. Third, the cyclical stance of fiscal policies is estimated to be more ‘counter-cyclical’ when real-time data are used instead of ex-post data. Finally, more work is needed for the development of real-time datasets for fiscal policy analysis. In particular, a comprehensive real-time dataset including fiscal variables for industrialized (and possibly developing) countries, published and maintained by central banks or other institutions, is still missing.

No. 1407
13 December 2011
Macroeconomic vulnerability and disagreement in expectations

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

Abstract

In this paper we discuss the role of the cross-sectional heterogeneity of beliefs in the context of understanding and assessing macroeconomic vulnerability. Emphasis lies on the potential of changing levels of disagreement in expectations to influence the propensity of the economy to switch between different regimes, a hypothesis that finds robust empirical support from a regime-switching model with endogenous transition probabilities for output growth and realized stock market volatility in the US.

No. 1406
13 December 2011
The public sector pay gap in a selection of Euro area countries

Abstract

JEL Classification

J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials

J45 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Particular Labor Markets→Public Sector Labor Markets

O52 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Europe

Abstract

We investigate the public-private wage differentials in ten euro area countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain). To account for differences in employment characteristics between the two sectors, we focus on micro data taken from EU-SILC. The results point to a conditional pay differential in favour of the public sector that is generally higher for women, at the low tail of the wage distribution, in the Education and the Public administration sectors rather than in the Health sector. Notable differences emerge across countries, with Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain exhibiting higher public sector premia than other countries.

No. 1405
13 December 2011
Bond market co-movements, expected inflation and the equilibrium real exchange rate

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

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

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

C58 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Financial Econometrics

Abstract

Since the end of the fixed rates in 1973 and after the EMS sterling dismissal in 1992, the value of the pound has undergone large cyclical fluctuations on average. Of particular interest to policy makers is the understanding of whether such movements are consistent with the lack or not of a correction mechanism to some long-run equilibrium. The purpose of the present study is to understand those dynamics, how the external value of the British sterling relative to the USD evolved during the recent floating experiences, and what have been the driving forces. In this paper we assume the real exchange rate to be determined by forces relating to the goods and capital market in a general equilibrium framework. This entails testing the purchasing power parity and the uncovered interest parity together. Our findings have two important implications, both for monetary policy. First, we show that some of the observed changes in the real exchange rates can not be solely attributed to changes in inflation rates, but, possibly, also to investors’ behavior. Secondly, we show that the special US dollar status of World reserve currency results into a weaker behavior of the US bond rate on international markets.

No. 1404
13 December 2011
A VAR analysis for the uncovered interest parity and the ex-ante purchasing power parity: the role of macroeconomic and financial information

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

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

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

C58 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Financial Econometrics

Abstract

This study revisits the relation between the uncovered interest parity (UIP), the ex ante purchasing power parity (EXPPP) and the real interest parity (RIP) using a VAR approach for the US dollar, the British sterling and the Japanese yen interest rates, exchange rates and changes in prices. The original contribution is on developing some joint coefficient-based tests for the three parities conditions at a long horizon. Particularly, test results are derived by rewriting the UIP, the EXPPP and the RIP as a set of cross-equation restrictions in the VAR (see also Campbell and Shiller, 1987; Bekaert and Hodrick, 2001; and Bekaert et al., 2007; King and Kurmann, 2002). Consistent with the idea of some form of proportionality among the above three parities, we find a ”forward premium” bias in both the UIP - as it is normally found in empirical analysis (e.g. Fama, 1987) - and the ex ante PPP. The latter result is new in the literature and stems from testing the PPP in expectational terms, thus assuming agents to bear on the uncertainty of future exchange rate changes and inflation dynamics. The overall results confirm the UIP to be currency-based (see also Bekaert et al., 2007) and the EXPPP to be horizon-dependent (see also Lothian and Taylor, 1996; Taylor, 2002). Moreover, we find (weak) evidence that conditioning the VAR on variables having a strong forward-looking component (i.e. share prices) helps recover a unitary coefficient in the UIP equation.

No. 1403
13 December 2011
Do EU structural funds promote regional employment? Evidence from dynamic panel data models

Abstract

JEL Classification

R11 : Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics→General Regional Economics→Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

R12 : Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics→General Regional Economics→Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

J20 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→General

Abstract

Despite its rather broad goal of promoting “economic, social and territorial cohesion”, the existing literature has mainly focused on investigating the Cohesion Policy’s growth effects. This ignores the fact that part of the EU expenditures is directly aimed at reducing disparities in the employment sector. Against this background, the paper analyses the impact of EU structural funds on employment drawing on a panel dataset of 130 European NUTS regions over the time period 1999-2007. Compared to previous studies we (i) explicitly take into account the unambiguous theoretical propositions by testing the conditional impact of structural funds on the educational attainment of the regional labour supply, (ii) use more precise measures of structural funds for an extended time horizon and (iii) examine the robustness of our results by comparing different dynamic panel econometric approaches to control for heteroscedasticity, serial and spatial correlation as well as for endogeneity. Our results indicate that high-skilled population in particular benefits from EU structural funds.

No. 1402
13 December 2011
Monetary policy and the flow of funds in the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the transmission of monetary policy in the euro area, assessing the impact of an unexpected increase of the short-term interest on the lending and borrowing activity of the different economic sectors. We exploit the information content of the flow-of-funds statistics, that provide the most appropriate framework to analyse the flowing of funds from one sector (the lender) to the other (the borrower). We proceed in two steps. First, we estimate a small VAR model for the euro area over the period 1991Q1 to 2009Q2. Then, we extend the benchmark VAR model in order to include the flow-of-funds series and analyse the response of the latter variables to a contractionary monetary policy shock. We find that the policy tightening is followed by a worsening of the budget deficit; firms cut on their demand for bank loans, partially replacing them with inter-company loans, and draw on their liquidity to try to offset the fall of revenues associated with the slowdown of economic activity; households reduce net borrowing and increase precautionary saving in the short run. Consistent with the bank lending channel of monetary policy at work, the interest rate hike is followed by a short-run deceleration of credit growth, mainly driven by the response of banks.

No. 1401
28 November 2011
Gravity chains: estimating bilateral trade flows when parts and components trade is important

Abstract

JEL Classification

F01 : International Economics→General→Global Outlook

F10 : International Economics→Trade→General

Abstract

Trade is measured on a gross sales basis while GDP is measured on a net sales basis, i.e. value added. The rapid internationalisation of production in the last two decades has meant that gross trade flows are increasingly unrepresentative of value added flows. This fact has important implications for the estimation of the gravity equation. We present empirical evidence that the standard gravity equation performs poorly by some measures when it is applied to bilateral flows where parts and components trade is important. We also provide a simple theoretical foundation for a modified gravity equation that is suited to explaining trade where international supply chains are important.

No. 1400
28 November 2011
Aggregation, the skill premium, and the two-level production function

Abstract

JEL Classification

E25 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

J23 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Labor Demand

J24 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Human Capital, Skills, Occupational Choice, Labor Productivity

O40 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→General

Abstract

We examine the two-level nested Constant Elasticity of Substitution production function where both capital and labor are disaggregated in two classes. We propose a normalized system estimation method to retrieve estimates of the inter- and intra-class elasticities of substitution and factoraugmenting technical progress coefficients. The system is estimated for US data for the 1963-2006 period. Our findings reveal that skilled and unskilled labor classes are gross substitutes, capital structures and equipment are gross complements, and aggregate capital and aggregate labor are gross complements with an elasticity of substitution close to 0.5. We discuss the implications of our findings and methodology for the analysis of the causes of the increase in the skill premium and, by implication, inequality in a growing economy.

No. 1399
28 November 2011
Economic performance and government size

Abstract

JEL Classification

C10 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→General

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

H11 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government

H30 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→General

O40 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→General

Abstract

We construct a growth model with an explicit government role, where more government resources reduce the optimal level of private consumption and of output per worker. In the empirical analysis, for a panel of 108 countries from 1970-2008, we use different proxies for government size and institutional quality. Our results, consistent with the presented growth model, show a negative effect of the size of government on growth. Similarly, institutional quality has a positive impact on real growth, and government consumption is consistently detrimental to growth. Moreover, the negative effect of government size on growth is stronger the lower institutional quality, and the positive effect of institutional quality on growth increases with smaller governments. The negative effect on growth of the government size variables is more mitigated for Scandinavian legal origins, and stronger at lower levels of civil liberties and political rights. Finally, for the EU, better overall fiscal and expenditure rules improve growth.

No. 1397
28 November 2011
Macroeconomic effects of unconventional monetary policy in the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General

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

Abstract

I find that the Eurosystem can stimulate the economy beyond the policy rate by increasing the size of its balance sheet or the monetary base. The transmission mechanism turns out to be different compared to traditional interest rate innovations: (i) whilst the effects on economic activity and consumer prices reach a peak after about one year for an interest rate innovation, this is more than six months later for a shift in the monetary base that is orthogonal to the policy rate (ii) interest rate spreads charged by banks decline persistently after a rise in the monetary base, whereas the spreads increase significantly after a fall in the policy rate (iii) there is no significant short-run liquidity effect after an interest rate innovation, that is additional bank loans are generated by a greater credit multiplier. In contrast, the multiplier declines considerably after an expansion of the Eurosystem’s balance sheet.

No. 1396
28 November 2011
Learning from experience in the stock market

Abstract

JEL Classification

G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates

D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief

D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations

Abstract

We study the dynamics of a Lucas-tree model with finitely lived agents who "learn from experience." Individuals update expectations by Bayesian learning based on observations from their own lifetimes. In this model, the stock price exhibits stochastic boom-and-bust fluctuations around the rational expectations equilibrium. This heterogeneous-agents economy can be approximated by a representative-agent model with constant-gain learning, where the gain parameter is related to the survival rate.

No. 1395
17 November 2011
On the importance of prior relationships in bank loans to retail customers
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

This paper analyzes the importance of retail consumers' banking relationships for loan defaults using a unique, comprehensive dataset of over one million loans by savings banks in Germany. We find that loans of retail customers, who have a relationship with their savings bank prior to applying for a loan, default significantly less than customers with no prior relationship. We find relationships matter in different forms, scope, and depth. Importantly, though, even the simplest forms of relationships such as transaction accounts are economically meaningful in reducing defaults, even after controlling for other borrower characteristics as well as internal and external credit scores. Our results suggest that relationships of all kinds have inherent private information and are valuable in screening, in monitoring, and in reducing consumers' incentives to default.

No. 1394
4 November 2011
Bank risk during the financial crisis: do business models matter?

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill

Abstract

We exploit the 2007-2009 financial crisis to analyze how risk relates to bank business models. Institutions with higher risk exposure had less capital, larger size, greater reliance on short-term market funding, and aggressive credit growth. Business models related to significantly reduced bank risk were characterized by a strong deposit base and greater income diversification. The effect of business models is non-linear: it has a different impact on riskier banks. Finally, it is difficult to establish in real time whether greater stock market capitalization involves real value creation or the accumulation of latent risk.

No. 1393
28 October 2011
Marx vs. Weber: does religion affect politics and the economy?

Abstract

JEL Classification

Z12 : Other Special Topics→Cultural Economics, Economic Sociology, Economic Anthropology→Religion

D72 : Microeconomics→Analysis of Collective Decision-Making→Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

H23 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Externalities, Redistributive Effects, Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

N33 : Economic History→Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy→Europe: Pre-1913

Abstract

We investigate the effect of Reformed Protestantism, relative to Catholicism, on preferences for leisure and for redistribution and intervention in the economy. With a Fuzzy Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design, we exploit a historical quasiexperiment in Western Switzerland, where in the 16th century a so far homogeneous region was split and one part assigned to convert to Protestantism. We find that Reformed Protestantism reduces the fraction of citizens voting for more leisure by 13, and that voting for more redistribution and government intervention by respectively 3 and 11 percentage points. These preferences are found to translate into greater income inequality, but we find no robust effect on average income.

No. 1392
28 October 2011
China's dominance hypothesis and the emergence of a tri-polar global currency system
Published in: Economic Journal (forthcoming)

Abstract

JEL Classification

F30 : International Economics→International Finance→General

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

F33 : International Economics→International Finance→International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

N20 : Economic History→Financial Markets and Institutions→General, International, or Comparative

Abstract

This paper assesses whether the international monetary system is already tripolar and centred around the US dollar, the euro and the Chinese renminbi (RMB). It focuses on what we call China

No. 1391
28 October 2011
Interest rate expectations and uncertainty during ECB governing council days: evidence from intraday implied densities of 3-month Euribor
Published in: Journal of Banking & Finance, Vol 36 (10), October 2012: pp 2804-2823 and Journal of International Money and Finance, Vol 33, 2013: pp 118

Abstract

JEL Classification

C14 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

Abstract

This paper analyses changes in short-term interest rate expectations and uncertainty during ECB Governing Council days. For this purpose, it first extends the estimation of risk-neutral probability density functions up to tick frequency. In particular, the non-parametric estimator of these densities, which is based on fitting implied volatility curves, is applied to estimate intraday expectations of threemonth EURIBOR three months ahead. The estimator proves to be robust to market microstructure noise and able to capture meaningful changes in expectations. Estimates of the noise impact on the statistical moments of the densities further enhance the interpretation. In addition, the paper assesses the impact of the ECB communication during Governing Council days. The results show that the whole density may react to the communication and that such repositioning of market participants

No. 1390
28 October 2011
Fraud, investments and liability regimes in payment platforms
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

L31 : Industrial Organization→Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise→Nonprofit Institutions, NGOs

L42 : Industrial Organization→Antitrust Issues and Policies→Vertical Restraints, Resale Price Maintenance, Quantity Discounts

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss how fraud liability regimes impact the price structure that is chosen by a monopolistic payment platform, in a setting where merchants can invest in fraud detection technologies. We show that liability allocation rules distort the price structure charged by platforms or banks to consumers and merchants with respect to a case where such a responsibility regime is not implemented. We determine the allocation of fraud losses between the payment platform and the merchants that maximises the platform's profit and we compare it to the allocation that maximises social welfare.

No. 1389
28 October 2011
Do newspaper articles on card fraud affect debit card usage?
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of newspaper publications about debit card skimming fraud on debit card usage in the Netherlands using daily information from January 1st 2005 to December 31st 2008. Time-series analyses are employed to assess the daily fluctuations in aggregate debit card usage. The results show that newspaper articles that somehow make mention of the phenomenon of skimming fraud significantly affect the number of debit card payments. The direction of the effect depends on the type of skimming fraud addressed. Newspaper articles on fraud at points-of-sale (POS) and ticket machines depress the number of debit card payments. News on ATM fraud, by contrast, has a positive effect on debit card payments. This indicates that the temporarily created fear for using the debit card at the ATM is not automatically translated into fear for using the debit card at the POS. Instead, ATMs and POS terminals are perceived as substitutes. Although significant, all media effects found are relatively small in comparison with other factors such as calendar and holiday effects and daily rainfall. Moreover, the effects only last for one day, with consumers immediately reverting back to their regular payment behaviour. This corresponds to earlier results found in other research fields and suggests that consumers

No. 1388
28 October 2011
To surcharge or not to surcharge? A two-sided market perspective of the no-surchage rule
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

L13 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

L42 : Industrial Organization→Antitrust Issues and Policies→Vertical Restraints, Resale Price Maintenance, Quantity Discounts

L80 : Industrial Organization→Industry Studies: Services→General

Abstract

In Electronic Payment Networks (EPNs) the No-Surcharge Rule (NSR) requires that merchants charge the same final good price regardless of the means of payment chosen by the customer. In this paper, we analyse a three-party model (consumers, merchants, and proprietary EPNs) to assess the impact of a NSR on the electronic payments system, in particular, on competition among EPNs, network pricing to merchants and consumers, EPNs' profits, and social welfare. We show that imposing a NSR has a number of effects. First, it softens competition among EPNs and rebalances the fee structure in favour of cardholders and to the detriment of merchants. Second, we show that the NSR is a profitable strategy for EPNs if and only if the network effect from merchants to cardholders is sufficiently weak. Third, the NSR is socially (un)desirable if the network externalities from merchants to cardholders are sufficiently weak (strong) and the merchants' market power in the goods market is sufficiently high (low). Our policy advice is that regulators should decide on whether the NSR is appropriate on a market-by-market basis instead of imposing a uniform regulation for all markets.

No. 1387
28 October 2011
Consumer credit and payment cards
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

D53 : Microeconomics→General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium→Financial Markets

Abstract

We consider debit and credit card networks. Our contribution is to introduce the role of consumer credit into these payment networks, and to assess the way this affects competition and equilibrium fees. We analyse a situation in which overdrafts are associated with current accounts and debit cards, and larger credit lines with

No. 1386
28 October 2011
How do you pay? The role of incentives at the point-of-sale
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money

C35 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions

C83 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Survey Methods, Sampling Methods

Abstract

This paper uses discrete-choice models to quantify the role of consumer socio-economic characteristics, payment instrument attributes, and transaction features on the probability of using cash, debit card, or credit card at the point-of-sale. We use the Bank of Canada 2009 Method of Payment Survey, a two-part survey among adult Canadians containing a detailed questionnaire and a three-day shopping diary. We find that cash is still used intensively at low value transactions due to speed, merchant acceptance, and low costs. Debit and credit cards are used more frequently for higher transaction values where safety, record keeping, the ability to delay payment and credit card rewards gain prominence. We present estimates of the elasticity of using a credit card with respect to credit card rewards. Reward elasticities are a key element in understanding the impact of retail payment pricing regulation on consumer payment instrument usage and welfare.

No. 1385
28 October 2011
Using cash to monitor liquidity - implications for payments, currency demand and withdrawal behavior
Conference on the future of retail payments: opportunities and challenges

Abstract

JEL Classification

E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

Abstract

Standard transaction cost arguments can only partially explain why the share of cash transactions is still high in many countries. This paper shows that consumers

No. 1384
4 October 2011
Trend-cycle decomposition of output and euro area inflation forecasts: a real-time approach based on model combination
Published in: Macroeconomic Dynamics (forthcoming)

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

The paper focuses on the estimation of the euro area output gap. We construct model-averaged measures of the output gap in order to cope with both model uncertainty and parameter instability that are inherent to trend-cycle decomposition models of GDP. We first estimate nine models of trend-cycle decomposition of euro area GDP, both univariate and multivariate, some of them allowing for changes in the slope of trend GDP and/or its error variance using Markov-switching specifications, or including a Phillips curve. We then pool the estimates using three weighting schemes. We compute both ex-post and real-time estimates to check the stability of the estimates to GDP revisions. We finally run a forecasting experiment to evaluate the predictive power of the output gap for inflation in the euro area. We find evidence of changes in trend growth around the recessions. We also find support for model averaging techniques in order to improve the reliability of the potential output estimates in real time. Our measures help forecasting inflation over most of our evaluation sample (2001-2010) but fail dramatically over the last recession.

No. 1383
4 October 2011
An international comparison of voting by committees
Published in: International Journal of Central Banking, Vol 9 (3), September 2013: pp 150-197

Abstract

JEL Classification

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

D72 : Microeconomics→Analysis of Collective Decision-Making→Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

This paper provides new empirical evidence on policy-makers

No. 1382
21 September 2011
Mapping the state of financial stability
Published in: Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Vol 26, October 2013: pp 46-76

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

F01 : International Economics→General→Global Outlook

F37 : International Economics→International Finance→International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

Abstract

The paper uses the Self-Organizing Map for mapping the state of financial stability and visualizing the sources of systemic risks as well as for predicting systemic financial crises. The Self-Organizing Financial Stability Map (SOFSM) enables a two-dimensional representation of a multidimensional financial stability space that allows disentangling the individual sources impacting on systemic risks. The SOFSM can be used to monitor macro-financial vulnerabilities by locating a country in the financial stability cycle: being it either in the pre-crisis, crisis, post-crisis or tranquil state. In addition, the SOFSM performs better than or equally well as a logit model in classifying in-sample data and predicting out-of-sample the global financial crisis that started in 2007. Model robustness is tested by varying the thresholds of the models, the policymaker's preferences, and the forecasting horizons.

No. 1381
12 September 2011
Global crises and equity market contagion
Published in: Journal of Finance (forthcoming) as "The global crisis and equity market contagion"

Abstract

JEL Classification

F3 : International Economics→International Finance

G14 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Information and Market Efficiency, Event Studies, Insider Trading

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

Using the 2007-2009 financial crisis as a laboratory, we analyze the transmission of crises to country-industry equity portfolios in 55 countries. We use an asset pricing framework with global and local factors to predict crisis returns, defining unexplained increases in factor loadings as indicative of contagion. We find evidence of systematic contagion from US markets and from the global financial sector, but the effects are very small. By contrast, there has been systematic and substantial contagion from domestic equity markets to individual domestic equity portfolios, with its severity inversely related to the quality of countries' economic fundamentals and policies. Consequently, we reject the globalization hypothesis that links the transmission of the crisis to the extent of global exposure. Instead, we confirm the old

No. 1380
12 September 2011
Labour tax progressivity and output volatility: evidence from OECD countries

Abstract

JEL Classification

E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

H10 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→General

Abstract

This paper investigates empirically the effect of personal income tax progressivity on output volatility in a sample of OECD countries over the period 1982-2009. Our measure of tax progressivity is based on the difference between the marginal and the average income tax rate for the average production worker. We find supportive empirical evidence for the hypothesis that higher personal income tax progressivity leads to lower output volatility. All other factors constant, countries with more progressive personal income tax systems seem to benefit from stronger automatic stabilisers.

No. 1379
12 September 2011
Forecasting economic growth in the euro area during the Great Moderation and the Great Recession

Abstract

JEL Classification

C50 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→General

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

We evaluate forecasts for the euro area in data-rich and ‘data-lean’ environments by comparing three different approaches: a simple PMI model based on Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs), a dynamic factor model with euro area data, and a dynamic factor model with data from the euro plus data from national economies (pseudo-real time data). We estimate backcasts, nowcasts and forecasts for GDP, components of GDP, and GDP of all individual euro area members, and examine forecasts for periods of low and high economic volatility (more specifically, we consider 2002-2007, which falls into the ‘Great Moderation’, and the ‘Great Recession’ 2008-2009). We find that all models consistently beat naive AR benchmarks, and overall, the dynamic factor model tends to outperform the PMI model (at times by a wide margin). However, accuracy of the dynamic factor model can be uneven (forecasts for some countries have large errors), with the PMI model dominating clearly for some countries or over some horizons. This is particularly pronounced over the Great Recession, where the dynamic factor model dominates the PMI model for backcasts, but has considerable difficulties beating the PMI model for nowcasts. This suggests that survey-based measures can have considerable advantages in responding to changes during very volatile periods, whereas factor models tend to be more sluggish to adjust.

No. 1378
12 September 2011
Wage setting in Hungary: evidence from a firm survey

Abstract

JEL Classification

C83 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Survey Methods, Sampling Methods

J01 : Labor and Demographic Economics→General→Labor Economics: General

J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General

Abstract

This paper presents new evidence on the flexibility of the Hungarian labor market, with special emphasis on wages. The results are based on a new survey on wage setting among Hungarian firms. The survey is part of the Eurosystem Wage Dynamics Network (WDN), and it is a harmonized questionnaire administered in 17 countries in Europe, including almost all Euro Area countries as well as five Central and Eastern European countries. The survey results show that the Hungarian labor market, while institutionally flexible, appears to be surprisingly rigid. The survey evidence points to low turnover and possibly more rigid wages than previously thought.

No. 1377
1 September 2011
Ranking, risk-taking and effort: an analysis of the ECB's foreign reserves management

Abstract

JEL Classification

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

D81 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

Abstract

The investment of the ECB reserves in US dollars and yen, delegated to a network of portfolio managers in the Eurosystem’s national central banks, involves a periodic assessment of performance against a common benchmark, controlled by the ECB and subject to revision on a monthly basis. Monetary reward for the best performers is almost entirely absent, and compensation comes mainly as reputational credit following the transmission of the annual report to the Governing Council. Employing a new data set on individual portfolio variables during 2002-2009, we study this peculiar tournament and show the existence of risk-shifting behaviour by reserve managers related to their year-to-date ranking: interim losers increase relative risk in the second half of the year, in the same way as mutual fund managers. In the dollar case, risk-shifting is asymmetric: the adjustment to ranking is generally reduced or entirely offset if reserve managers have achieved a positive interim performance against the benchmark. Yen reserve managers that rank low show a tendency to increase effort, as proxied by portfolio turnover. We also find that reserve managers who ranked low in the previous year tend to reduce risk significantly. Our evidence is consistent with a reserve managers’ anecdote, according to which they obtain a concave reputational reward within their national central banks, which induces risk aversion and explains the observed low usage of the risk budget. Since reserve managers should have a comparative advantage over the tactical benchmark within a monthly horizon, possible enhancements to the design of the tournament are discussed. These might involve an increased reward for effort and performance by means of a convex scoring system linked to monthly, rather than annual, performance.

No. 1376
1 September 2011
The price of liquidity: the effects of market conditions and bank characteristics
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

D44 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Auctions

Abstract

We study the prices that individual banks pay for liquidity (captured by borrowing rates in repos with the central bank and benchmarked by the overnight index swap) as a function of market conditions and bank characteristics. These prices depend in particular on the distribution of liquidity across banks, which is calculated over time using individual bank-level data on reserve requirements and actual holdings. Banks pay more for liquidity when positions are more imbalanced across banks, consistent with the existence of short squeezing. We also show that small banks pay more for liquidity and are more vulnerable to squeezes. Healthier banks pay less but, contrary to what one might expect, banks in formal liquidity networks do not. State guarantees reduce the price of liquidity but do not protect against squeezes.

No. 1375
25 August 2011
Precautionary price stickiness

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

D81 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

C72 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Game Theory and Bargaining Theory→Noncooperative Games

Abstract

This paper proposes two models in which price stickiness arises endogenously even though firms are free to change their prices at zero physical cost. Firms are subject to idiosyncratic and aggregate shocks, and they also face a risk of making errors when they set their prices. In our first specification, firms are assumed to play a dynamic logit equilibrium, which implies that big mistakes are less likely than small ones. The second specification derives logit behavior from an assumption that precision is costly. The empirical implications of the two versions of our model are very similar. Since firms making sufficiently large errors choose to adjust, both versions generate a strong "selection effect" in response to a nominal shock that eliminates most of the monetary nonneutrality found in the Calvo model. Thus the model implies that money shocks have little impact on the real economy, as in Golosov and Lucas (2007), but fits microdata better than their specification.

No. 1374
25 August 2011
The 2007 subprime market crisis through the lens of European Central Bank auctions for short-term funds
Published in: Econometrica, Vol 81 (4), July 2013: pp 1309-1345

Abstract

JEL Classification

D44 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Auctions

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

Abstract

We study European banks

No. 1373
22 August 2011
Asset prices, collateral and unconventional monetary policy in a DSGE model

Abstract

JEL Classification

E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

In this paper we set up a New-Keynesian model that features an interbank market. The introduction of an interbank market is important to analyze liquidity problems among heterogenous agents within the financial sector. First, because this allows for a situation where increased liquidity supply by the central bank is only partially passed on to the interbank market. Second, this framework allows us to analyze one additional policy measure besides the common interest rate policy undertaken by central banks to alleviate the liquidity shortage on the interbank market. Namely haircuts on eligible assets in repurchase agreements (“Repos”). By varying haircuts applied to securities that serve as collateral in repurchase agreements the stress on the interbank market can be mitigated by bringing down the interest rate charged among banks. Furthermore an exogenous bubble process is modeled which enables us to examine the effects of a deviation of the market price of capital from its fundamental price. This leads to a discussion whether central banks should ”lean against the wind”, i.e. react to deviations of asset prices in the setting of their policy instrument. Finally, this paper tries to shed some light on the “exit strategy” that a central bank should follow after the asset price bubble bursted and the interbank market begins to work properly again.

No. 1372
22 August 2011
Downward wage rigidity in Hungary

Abstract

JEL Classification

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

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

J5 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Labor?Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

Abstract

Following the approach recently developed for the International Wage Flexibility Project (IWFP), the paper presents new estimates of downward real and nominal wage rigidity for Hungary. Results suggest that nominal rigidity is more prominent in Hungary than real rigidity. When compared to other countries participating in the IWFP, Hungary ranks among the countries with the lowest degree of downward real rigidity. The estimated downward nominal rigidity for Hungary is higher, the measure is close to but still below the overall cross-country average. Using the same methodology, the paper also confirms the widespread view that the wage growth bargained at the national level has little compulsory power in Hungary. On the other hand, the minimum wage remains an important source of potential downward wage rigidity in Hungary.

No. 1371
22 August 2011
What is driving oil futures prices? Fundamentals versus speculation

Abstract

JEL Classification

D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations

Q33 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation→Resource Booms

Q41 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Energy→Demand and Supply, Prices

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

In this paper we analyse the relative importance of fundamental and speculative demand on oil futures price levels and volatility. In a first step, we present a theoretical heterogeneous agent model of the oil futures market based on noise trading. We use the model to study the interaction between the oil futures price, volatility, developments in underlying fundamentals and the presence of different types of agents. We distinguish between commercial traders (who are physically involved in oil) and non-commercial traders (who are not involved physically with oil). Based on the theoretical model we find that a multiplicity of equilibria can exist. More specifically, on the one hand, if we have high fundamental volatility, high uncertainty about future oil demand, and the oil price deviation from fundamentals or the price trend is small, we will only have commercial traders entering the market. On the other hand, if a large unexpected shock to the oil spot price occurs then all traders will enter the market. In a next step, we empirically test the model by estimating a markov-switching model with time-varying transition probabilities. We estimate the model over the period January 1992 - April 2011. We find that up to 2004, movements in oil futures prices are best explained by underlying fundamentals. However, since 2004 regime switching has become more frequent and the chartist regime has been the most prominent.

No. 1370
22 August 2011
The global financial crisis: trying to understand the global trade downturn and recovery
Published in: The World Economy Journal, Vol 34 (5), 2011: pp 741-763.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E0 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General

F01 : International Economics→General→Global Outlook

F10 : International Economics→Trade→General

F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration

F17 : International Economics→Trade→Trade Forecasting and Simulation

Abstract

This paper aims to shed light on why the downturn in global trade during the intensification of the financial crisis in 2008Q4-2009Q1 was so severe and synchronized across the world, and also examines the subsequent recovery in global trade during 2009Q2-2010Q1. The paper finds that a structural imports function which captures the different and time-varying importintensities of the components of total final expenditure can explain the sharp decline in global imports of goods and services. By contrast, a specification based on aggregate total expenditure can not fully capture the global trade downturn. In particular, panel estimates for a large number of OECD countries suggest that the high import-intensity of exports at the country-level can explain a significant proportion of the decline in world imports during the crisis, while declines in the highly import-intensive expenditure category of investment also contributed to the remaining fall in global trade. At the same time, the high and rising import-intensity of exports also reflects and captures the rapid growth in “vertical specialisation”, suggesting that widespread global production chains may have amplified the downturn in world trade and partly explains its high-degree of synchronisation across the globe. In addition, the estimates find that stockbuilding, business confidence and credit conditions also played a role in the global trade downturn. Meanwhile, the global trade recovery (2009Q2-2010Q1) can only be partially explained by differential elasticities for the components of demand (although the results confirm that the upturn in OECD imports was also driven by strong export growth and the associated reactivation of global production chains, as well as the recovery in stockbuilding and the fiscal stimulus). This may be due in part to the many policy measures that were implemented to boost global trade at that time and which can not be captured by the specification.

No. 1369
22 August 2011
Technology, utilization and inflation: what drives the New Keynesian Phillips Curve?
Published in: Journal of Money Credit and Banking, Vol 45 (8), December 2013: pp 1547-1579

Abstract

JEL Classification

E20 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→General

E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General

Abstract

We argue that the New-Keynesian Phillips Curve literature has failed to deliver a convincing measure of

No. 1368
22 August 2011
Output growth and fluctuation: the role of financial openness

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

F30 : International Economics→International Finance→General

F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

F43 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Economic Growth of Open Economies

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

I analyze output growth, volatility, and skewness as the joint outcomes of financial openness. Using an industry panel of 53 countries over 45 years, I find that financial openness increases simultaneously mean growth and the negative skewness of the growth process. The increase in output skewness appears to come from a more negatively skewed distribution of investment, TFP, and new business creation. The growth benefits of financial liberalization are augmented, and its costs associated with higher probability of rare large contractions are mitigated by deep credit markets and by strong institutions. The main result of the paper holds in aggregated data.

No. 1367
18 August 2011
Cyclical fluctuations in the Mediterranean basin
Published in: Journal of International Economics, Vol 88 (1), 2012: pp 162-175.

Abstract

JEL Classification

C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

Abstract

We investigate the similarities of macroeconomic fluctuations in the Mediterranean basin and their convergence. A model with three indicators, covering the West, the East and the MENA portions of the Mediterranean, characterizes well the historical experience since the early 1980. Convergence and divergence coexist in the region and are reversible. Except for the West, domestic cyclical fluctuations are still due to national and idiosyncratic causes. The outlook for the next few years looks rosier for the MENA and the East blocks than for the West.

No. 1366
15 August 2011
Stock market firm-level information and real economic activity

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

C58 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Financial Econometrics

F37 : International Economics→International Finance→International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

We provide evidence that changes in the equity price and volatility of individual firms (measures that approximate the definition of 'granular shock' given in Gabaix, 2010) are key to improve the predictability of aggregate business cycle fluctuations in a number of countries. Specifically, adding the return and the volatility of firm-level equity prices to aggregate financial information leads to a significant improvement in forecasting business cycle developments in four economic areas, at various horizons. Importantly, not only domestic firms but also foreign firms improve business cycle predictability for a given economic area. This is not immediately visible when one takes an unconditional standpoint (i.e. an average across the sample). However, conditioning on the business cycle position of the domestic economy, the relative importance of the two sets of firms - foreign and domestic - exhibits noticeable swings across time. Analogously, the sectoral classification of the firms that in a given month retain the highest predictive power for future IP changes also varies significantly over time as a function of the business cycle position of the domestic economy. Limited to the United States, predictive ability is found to be related to selected balance sheet items, suggesting that structural features differentiate the firms that can anticipate aggregate fluctuations from those that do not help to this aim. Beyond the purely forecasting application, this finding may enhance our understanding of the underlying origins of aggregate fluctuations. We also propose to use the cross sectional stock market information to macro-prudential aims through an economic Value at Risk.

No. 1365
1 August 2011
Understanding and forecasting aggregate and disaggregate price dynamics

Abstract

JEL Classification

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General

C38 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Classification Methods, Cluster Analysis, Principal Components, Factor Models

Abstract

The issue of forecast aggregation is to determine whether it is better to forecast a series directly or instead construct forecasts of its components and then sum these component forecasts. Notwithstanding some underlying theoretical results, it is generally accepted that forecast aggregation is an empirical issue. Empirical results in the literature often go unexplained. This leaves forecasters in the dark when confronted with the option of forecast aggregation. We take our empirical exercise a step further by considering the underlying issues in more detail. We analyse two price datasets, one for the United States and one for the Euro Area, which have distinctive dynamics and provide a guide to model choice. We also consider multiple levels of aggregation for each dataset. The models include an autoregressive model, a factor augmented autoregressive model, a large Bayesian VAR and a time-varying model with stochastic volatility. We find that once the appropriate model has been found, forecast aggregation can significantly improve forecast performance. These results are robust to the choice of data transformation.

No. 1364
20 July 2011
Capital flows, push versus pull factors and the global financial crisis

Abstract

JEL Classification

F3 : International Economics→International Finance

F21 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→International Investment, Long-Term Capital Movements

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

Abstract

The causes of the 2008 collapse and subsequent surge in global capital flows remain an open and highly controversial issue. Employing a factor model coupled with a dataset of high-frequency portfolio capital flows to 50 economies, the paper finds that common shocks – key crisis events as well as changes to global liquidity and risk – have exerted a large effect on capital flows both in the crisis and in the recovery. However, these effects have been highly heterogeneous across countries, with a large part of this heterogeneity being explained by differences in the quality of domestic institutions, country risk and the strength of domestic macroeconomic fundamentals. Comparing and quantifying these effects shows that common factors (“push” factors) were overall the main drivers of capital flows during the crisis, while country-specific determinants (“pull” factors) have been dominant in accounting for the dynamics of global capital flows in 2009 and 2010, in particular for emerging markets.

No. 1363
20 July 2011
Forecasting inflation with gradual regime shifts and exogenous information

Abstract

JEL Classification

C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes

C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

We propose a new method for medium-term forecasting using exogenous information. We first show how a shifting-mean autoregressive model can be used to describe characteristic features in inflation series. This implies that we decompose the inflation process into a slowly moving nonstationary component and dynamic short-run fluctuations around it. An important feature of our model is that it provides a way of combining the information in the sample and exogenous information about the quantity to be forecast. This makes it possible to form a single model-based inflation forecast that also incorporates the exogenous information. We demonstrate, both theoretically and by simulations, how this is done by using the penalised likelihood for estimating the model parameters. In forecasting inflation, the central bank inflation target, if it exists, is a natural example of such exogenous information. We illustrate the application of our method by an out-of-sample forecasting experiment for euro area and UK inflation. We find that for euro area inflation taking the exogenous information into account improves the forecasting accuracy compared to that of a number of relevant benchmark models but this is not so for the UK. Explanations to these outcomes are discussed.

No. 1362
20 July 2011
Securitization and lending standards: evidence from the wholesale loan market

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

Abstract

We investigate the effect of securitization activity on banks’ lending standards using evidence from pricing behavior on the syndicated loan market. We find that banks more active at originating asset-backed securities are also more aggressive on their loan pricing practices. This suggests that securitization activity lead to laxer credit standards. Macroeconomic factors also play a large role explaining the impact of securitization activity on bank lending standards: banks more active in the securitization markets loosened more aggressively their lending standards in the run up to the recent financial crisis but also tightened more strongly during the crisis period. As a continuum of this paper we are examining whether individual loans that are eventually securitized are priced more aggressively by using unique European data on individual loans from all major trustees.

No. 1361
12 July 2011
Identifying the effects of government spending shocks with and without expected reversal: an approach based on U.S. real-time data

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

E65 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General

Abstract

This paper investigates how expectations about future government spending affect the transmission of fiscal policy shocks. We study the effects of two different types of government spending shocks in the United States: (i) spending shocks that are accompanied by an expected reversal of public spending growth below trend; (ii) spending shocks that are accompanied by expectations of future spending growth above trend. We use the Ramey (2011)’s time series of military build-ups to measure exogenous spending shocks, and deviations of forecasts of public spending with respect to past trends, evaluated in real-time, to distinguish shocks into these two categories. Based on a structural VAR analysis, our results suggest that shocks associated with an expected spending reversal exert expansionary effects on the economy and accelerate the correction of the initial increase in public debt. Shocks associated with expected spending growth above trend, instead, are characterized by a contraction in aggregate demand and a more persistent increase in public debt. The main channel of transmission seems to run through agents’ perception of the future macroeconomic environment.

No. 1360
12 July 2011
How flexible are real wages in EU countries? A panel investigation

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

P5 : Economic Systems→Comparative Economic Systems

Abstract

In this paper we estimate the degree of real wage flexibility in 19 EU countries in a wage Phillips curve panel framework. We find evidence for a reaction of wage growth to unemployment and productivity growth. However, due to unemployment persistence, over time the real wage response weakens substantially. Our results suggest that the degree of real wage flexibility tends to be larger in the central and eastern European (CEE) countries than in the euro area; weaker in downturns than during upswings. Moreover, there exists an inflation threshold, below which real wage flexibility seems to decrease. Finally, we find that part of the heterogeneity in real wage flexibility and unemployment might be related to differences in the wage bargaining institutions and more specifically the extent of labour market regulation in different country groups within the EU.

No. 1359
12 July 2011
Does bargaining matter in the small firm's matching model?
Published in: Labour Economics, Vol 21, April 2013: pp 42-58

Abstract

JEL Classification

C71 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Game Theory and Bargaining Theory→Cooperative Games

C78 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Game Theory and Bargaining Theory→Bargaining Theory, Matching Theory

J20 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→General

J60 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers→General

Abstract

In this article, we use a stylized model of the labor market to investigate the effects of three alternative and well-known bargaining solutions. We apply the Nash, the Egalitarian and the Kalai-Smorodinsky bargaining solutions in the small firm's matching model of unemployment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to implement and systematically compare these solutions in search-matching economies. Our results are twofold. First from the theoretical and methodological viewpoint, we extend a somewhat flexible search-matching economy to alternative bargaining solutions. In particular, we prove that the Egalitarian and the Kalai-Smorodinsky solutions are easily implementable within search-matching economies. Second, our results show that even though the traditional results of bargaining theory apply in this context, they are generally qualitatively different from the standard results, and the differences are quantitatively weaker than expected. This is of particular relevance in comparison with the results established in the earlier literature.

No. 1358
22 June 2011
Determinants of credit-less recoveries
Published in: Empirical Economics, Vol 49, 2015: pp 1245-1269 as "Key features and determinants of credit-less recoveries"

Abstract

JEL Classification

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

Abstract

This paper aims to shed light on the characteristics and particularly the determinants of credit-less recoveries. After building a dataset and documenting some stylised facts of credit-less recoveries in emerging market economies, this paper uses panel probit models to analyse key determinants of credit-less recoveries. Our main findings are the following. First, our frequency analysis confirms earlier findings that credit-less recoveries are not at all rare events. Moreover, our analysis shows that the frequency of credit-less recoveries doubles after a banking or currency crisis. Second, results from estimated panel probit models suggest that credit-less recoveries are typically preceded by large declines in economic activity and financial stress, in particular if private sector indebtedness is high and the country is reliant on foreign capital inflows. Finally, we find that the predicted probability of a credit-less recovery in central and eastern European EU Member States during the coming years varies across countries, but is relatively high in the Baltic States.

No. 1357
22 June 2011
Assessing the sensitivity of inflation to economic activity

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

A number of academic studies suggest that from the mid-1990s onwards there were changes in the link between inflation and economic activity. However, it remains unclear the extent to which this phenomenon can be ascribed to a change in the structural relationship between inflation and output, as opposed to a change in the size and nature of the shocks hitting the economy. This paper uses a suite of models, such as time-varying VAR techniques, traditional macro models, as well as DSGE models, to investigate, for various European countries as well as for the euro area, the evolution of the link between inflation and resource utilization and its dependence on the nature and size of the shocks. Our analysis suggests that the relationship between inflation and activity has indeed been changing over time, while remaining positive, with the correlation peaking during recessions. Quantitatively, the link between output and inflation is found to be highly dependent on which type of shocks hit the economy: while, in general, all demand shocks to output imply a reaction of inflation of the same sign, the latter will be less pronounced when output fluctuations are driven by supply shocks. In addition, a sharp deceleration of activity, as opposed to a subdued but protracted slowdown, results in a swifter decline in inflation. Inflation exhibits a rather strong persistence, with a negative impact still visible three years after the initial shock.

No. 1356
14 June 2011
The role of oil prices in the euro area economy since the 1970s

Abstract

JEL Classification

E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

Abstract

This paper explores the role of oil prices in the euro area economy since the 1970s by applying a VAR framework with time varying parameters and stochastic volatility in which oil supply and global demand shocks are identified. Our results show that both types of shock contributed substantially to the oil price surges during historical oil crises and likewise to those over the past decade. Counterfactual histories of the price and activity variables, moreover, reveal much larger adverse contributions of both shocks to HICP inflation and GDP in the first half of the sample than in the second, which suggests that changes related to these shocks have contributed to the Great Moderation. Impulse responses, moreover, show that a decline in the pass through of the two shocks has added to the moderating contribution over time, while variance decompositions indicate no change in the relative importance of the two shocks overtime.

No. 1355
14 June 2011
Household's portfolio structure in Germany - analysis of financial accounts data 1959-2009

Abstract

JEL Classification

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

Abstract

Based on a Financial Almost Ideal Demand System (FAIDS), this paper investigates the wealth structure of German households. The long-run wealth elasticities and interestrate elasticities were calculated using a unique new quarterly financial accounts macrodata set which covers the period from 1959 to 2009 and contains a portfolio of eight different financial assets. Descriptive analysis shows that all financial assets were characterized by substantial volatility of their weight in the portfolio of households. We found that portfolio shifts in the long run are determined significantly by changes in interest rates. The estimated model provides evidence that currency (and transferable deposits) is mainly a substitute for other assets and time deposits are typically a complement. Wealth elasticity is for most assets around unity.

No. 1354
14 June 2011
Saudi Aramco and the oil market

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

Q43 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Energy→Energy and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

We present a general equilibrium model of the global oil market, in which the oil price, oil production, and consumption, are jointly determined as outcomes of the optimizing decisions of oil importers and oil exporters. On the supply side the oil market is modelled as a dominant firm – Saudi Aramco – with competitive fringe. We establish that a dominant firm may exist as long as it enjoys a cost advantage over the fringe. We provide an expression for the optimal markup and compute the spare capacity maintained by such a firm. The model produces plausible dynamic in response to oil supply and oil demand shocks. In particular, it reproduces successfully the jump in oil output of Saudi Aramco following the output collapse of Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War, explaining it as the profit-maximizing response of the dominant firm. Oil taxes and subsidies affect the oil price and welfare through their effect on the trade-off between oil production efficiency and oil market competition.

No. 1353
14 June 2011
Exchange rate anchoring - Is there still a de facto US dollar standard?

Abstract

JEL Classification

F30 : International Economics→International Finance→General

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

F33 : International Economics→International Finance→International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

Abstract

The paper provides a measure of exchange rate anchoring behaviour across 149 emerging market and developing economies for the 1980-2010 period. An extension of the Frankel and Wei (2008) methodology is used to determine whether exchange rates are pegged or floating, and in the case of pegs, to which anchor currencies they are pegged. To capture the role of major currencies over time, an aggregate trade-weighted indicator is constructed based on exchange rate regimes of individual countries. The evolution of this aggregate indicator suggests that the US dollar has continuously dominated exchange rate regimes, despite some temporary decoupling during major financial crises.

No. 1352
10 June 2011
Systemic risk and financial development in a monetary model

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

In a stochastic pure endowment economy with money but no financial markets, two types of agents trade one non-durable good using two alternative types of cash constraints. Simulations of the corresponding variants are compared to Arrow-Debreu and Autarky equilibriums. First, this illustrates how financial innovation or financial regression, including systemic risk, may arise in a neo-classical model with rational expectations and may or may not be countered. Second, the price and money partition dynamics that the two variants generate absent any macroeconomic shock, exhibit jumps as well as fat-tails and vary depending on the discount rate.

No. 1351
6 June 2011
Potential output in DSGE models

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

Abstract

In view of the increasing use of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models in the macroeconomic projections and the policy process, this paper examines, both conceptually and empirically, alternative notions of potential output within DSGE models. Furthermore, it provides historical estimates of potential output/output gaps on the basis of selected DSGE models developed by the European System of Central Banks’ staff. These estimates are compared to the corresponding estimates obtained applying more traditional methods. Finally, the paper assesses the usefulness of the DSGE model-based output gaps for gauging inflationary pressures.

No. 1350
6 June 2011
The optimal width of the central bank standing facilities corridor and banks' day-to-day liquidity management

Abstract

JEL Classification

E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

Abstract

Containing short-term volatility of the overnight interest rate is normally considered the main objective of central bank standing facilities. This paper develops a simple stochastic model to show how the width of the central bank standing facilities corridor affects banks’ day-to-day liquidity management and the volatility of the overnight rate. It is shown that the wider the corridor, the greater the interbank turnover, the leaner the central bank’s balance sheet (i.e. the lower the average recourse to standing facilities) and the greater short-term interest rate volatility. The obtained relationships are matched with central bank preferences to obtain an optimal corridor width. The model is tested against euro area and Hungarian daily data encompassing the financial crisis that began in 2007.

No. 1349
6 June 2011
Consumer confidence as a predictor of consumption spending: evidence for the United States and the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

F37 : International Economics→International Finance→International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

F42 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→International Policy Coordination and Transmission

Abstract

For most academics and policy makers, the depth of the 2007-09 financial crisis, its longevity and its impacts on the real economy resulted from an erosion of confidence. This paper proposes to assess empirically the link between consumer sentiment and consumption expenditures for the United States and the euro area. It shows under which circumstances confidence indicators can be a good predictor of household consumption even after controlling for information in economic fundamentals. Overall, the results show that the consumer confidence index can be in certain circumstances a good predictor of consumption. In particular, out-of-sample evidence shows that the contribution of confidence in explaining consumption expenditures increases when household survey indicators feature large changes, so that confidence indicators can have some increasing predictive power during such episodes. Moreover, there is some evidence of a "confidence channel" in the international transmission of shocks, as U.S. confidence indices lead consumer sentiment in the euro area.

No. 1348
1 June 2011
Theoretical notes on bubbles and the current crisis
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

O40 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→General

Abstract

We explore a view of the crisis as a shock to investor sentiment that led to the collapse of a bubble or pyramid scheme in financial markets. We embed this view in a standard model of the financial accelerator and explore its empirical and policy implications. In particular, we show how the model can account for: (i) a gradual and protracted expansionary phase followed by a sudden and sharp recession; (ii) the connection (or lack of connection!) between financial and real economic activity and; (iii) a fast and strong transmission of shocks across countries. We also use the model to explore the role of fiscal policy.

No. 1347
1 June 2011
Sovereign credit ratings and financial markets linkages: application to European data
Published in: Journal of International Money and Finance, Vol 31 (3), 2012: pp 606-638.

Abstract

JEL Classification

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

We use EU sovereign bond yield and CDS spreads daily data to carry out an event study analysis on the reaction of government yield spreads before and after announcements from rating agencies (Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch). Our results show: significant responses of government bond yield spreads to changes in rating notations and outlook, particularly in the case of negative announcements; announcements are not anticipated at 1-2 months horizon but there is bi-directional causality between ratings and spreads within 1-2 weeks; spillover effects especially from lower rated countries to higher rated countries; and persistence effects for recently downgraded countries.

No. 1346
1 June 2011
Do financial investors destabilize the oil price?

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

Q41 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Energy→Demand and Supply, Prices

Q31 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation→Demand and Supply, Prices

Abstract

In this paper, we assess whether and to what extent financial activity in the oil futures markets has contributed to destabilize oil prices in recent years. We define a destabilizing financial shock as a shift in oil prices that is not related to current and expected fundamentals, and thereby distorts efficient pricing in the oil market. Using a structural VAR model identified with sign restrictions, we disentangle this non-fundamental financial shock from fundamental shocks to oil supply and demand to determine their relative importance. We find that financial investors in the futures market can destabilize oil spot prices, although only in the short run. Moreover, financial activity appears to have exacerbated the volatility in the oil market over the past decade, particularly in 2007-2008. However, shocks to oil demand and supply remain the main drivers of oil price swings.

No. 1345
1 June 2011
Systemic risk-taking: amplification effects, externalities, and regulatory responses
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

G13 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Contingent Pricing, Futures Pricing

G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation

D62 : Microeconomics→Welfare Economics→Externalities

H23 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Externalities, Redistributive Effects, Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

Abstract

This paper analyzes the efficiency of risk-taking decisions in an economy that is prone to systemic risk, captured by financial amplification effects that occur in response to strong adverse shocks. It shows that decentralized agents who have unconstrained access to a complete set of Arrow securities choose to expose themselves to such risk to a socially inefficient extent because of pecuniary externalities that are triggered during financial amplification. The paper develops an externality pricing kernel that quantifies the state-contingent magnitude of such externalities and provides welfaretheoretic foundations for macro-prudential policy measures to correct the distortion. Furthermore, it derives conditions under which agents employ ex-ante risk markets to fully undo any expected government bailout. Finally, it finds that constrained market participants face socially insufficient incentives to raise more capital during episodes of financial amplification.

No. 1344
27 May 2011
Have euro area and EU economic governance worked? Just the facts
Published in: European Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming)

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy

H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt

O43 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Institutions and Growth

Abstract

We test whether two key elements of the EU and euro area economic governance framework, the Stability and Growth Pact and the Lisbon Strategy, have had any impact on macroeconomic outcomes. We test this proposition using a difference-in-difference approach on a panel of over 30 countries, some of which are non-EU (control group). Hence, the impact of the EU economic governance pillars is evaluated based on both the performance before and after their application as well as against the control group. We find strong and robust evidence that neither the Stability and Growth Pact nor the Lisbon Strategy have had a significant beneficial impact on fiscal and economic performance outcomes. We conclude that a profound reform of these pillars is needed to make them work in the next decade.

No. 1343
27 May 2011
The predictive content of sectoral stock prices: a US-euro area comparison

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates

Abstract

This paper examines the out-of-sample forecast performance of sectoral stock market indicators for real GDP, private consumption and investment growth up to 4 quarters ahead in the US and the euro area. Our findings are that the predictive content of sectoral stock market indicators: i) is potentially strong, particularly for the financial sector, and is stronger than that of financial spreads; ii) varies over time, with a substantial improvement after 1999 for the euro area; iii) is stronger for investment than for private consumption; and iv) is stronger in the euro area than in the United States.

No. 1342
27 May 2011
Fiscal data revisions in Europe
Published in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol 45 (6), 2013: pp 1187-1209

Abstract

JEL Classification

E01 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General→Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth, Environmental Accounts

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

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

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General

Abstract

Public deficit figures are subject to revisions, as most macroeconomic aggregates are. Nevertheless, in the case of Europe, the latter could be particularly worrisome given the role of fiscal data in the functioning of EU

No. 1341
27 May 2011
Exact likelihood computation for nonlinear DSGE models with heteroskedastic innovations
Published in: Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol 35, 2011: pp 2167‐2185.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E0 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General

C63 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling→Computational Techniques, Simulation Modeling

Abstract

Phenomena such as the Great Moderation have increased the attention of macro-economists towards models where shock processes are not (log-)normal. This paper studies a class of discrete-time rational expectations models where the variance of exogenous innovations is subject to stochastic regime shifts. We first show that, up to a second-order approximation using perturbation methods, regime switching in the variances has an impact only on the intercept coefficients of the decision rules. We then demonstrate how to derive the exact model likelihood for the second-order approximation of the solution when there are as many shocks as observable variables. We illustrate the applicability of the proposed solution and estimation methods in the case of a small DSGE model.

No. 1340
16 May 2011
How wages respond to shocks: asymmetry in the speed of adjustment

Abstract

JEL Classification

J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General

J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials

J33 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Compensation Packages, Payment Methods

Abstract

The time series of various economic variables often exhibit asymmetry: decreases in the values tend to be sharp and fast, whereas increases usually occur slowly and gradually. We detect signs of an analogous asymmetry in firms' wage setting behaviour on the basis of managerial surveys, with employers tending to react faster to negative than to positive shocks in the same variables. As well as describing the presence of asymmetry in the speed of wage adjustment, we investigate which companies are more likely to demonstrate it in their behaviour. For this purpose, we apply the Heckman selection model and develop a methodology that improves identification by exploiting heteroscedasticity in the selection equation. The estimation results imply that companies operating in a more competitive environment have a higher propensity to react asymmetrically. We also find that businesses relying on labour-intensive production technology are more likely to react faster to negative shocks. Both of these findings support the hypothesis that this behaviour results from companies' attempts to protect profit margins.

No. 1339
12 May 2011
The stock market reaction to the 2005 non-tradable share reform in China
Published in: Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Vol 20, 2012: pp 543–560.

Abstract

JEL Classification

G14 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Information and Market Efficiency, Event Studies, Insider Trading

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill

Abstract

During 2005-2006, the Chinese government implemented a reform aimed at eliminating the so-called non-tradable shares (NTS), shares typically held by the State or by politically connected institutional investors that were issued at the early stage of financial market development. Our analysis, based on the time series of risk factors and on the cross section of abnormal returns, confirms that the NTS reform affected stock prices, particularly benefiting small stocks, stocks characterized by historically poor returns, stocks issued by companies with less transparent accounts and poorer governance, and less liquid stocks Historically neglected stocks also witnessed an increase in the volume of trading and market prices.

No. 1338
11 May 2011
Financial frictions and optimal monetary policy in an open economy
Published in: International Journal of Central Banking, Vol 10 (1), 2014, pp43-94

Abstract

JEL Classification

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics

Abstract

A growing number of papers have studied positive and normative implications of financial frictions in DSGE models. We contribute to this literature by studying the welfare-based monetary policy in a two-country model characterized by financial frictions, alongside a number of key features, like capital accumulation, non-traded goods and foreign-currency debt denomination. We compare the cooperative Ramsey monetary policy with standard policy benchmarks (e.g. PPI stability) as well as with the optimal Ramsey policy in a currency area. We show that the two-country perspective offers new insights on the trade-offs faced by the monetary authority. Our main results are the following. First, strict PPI targeting (nearly optimal in our model if credit frictions are absent) becomes excessively procyclical in response to positive productivity shocks in the presence of financial frictions. The related welfare losses are non-negligible, especially if financial imperfections interact with nontradable production. Second, (asymmetric) foreign currency debt denomination affects the optimal monetary policy and has important implications for exchange rate regimes. In particular, the larger the variance of domestic productivity shocks relative to foreign, the closer the PPI-stability policy is to the optimal policy and the farther is the currency union case. Third, we find that central banks should allow for deviations from price stability to offset the effects of balance sheet shocks. Finally, while financial frictions substantially decrease attractiveness of all price targeting regimes, they do not have a significant effect on the performance of a monetary union agreement.

No. 1337
2 May 2011
Who invests in home equity to exempt wealth from bankruptcy?

Abstract

JEL Classification

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

K35 : Law and Economics→Other Substantive Areas of Law→Personal Bankruptcy Law

R21 : Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics→Household Analysis→Housing Demand

Abstract

Homestead exemptions to personal bankruptcy allow households to retain their home equity up to a limit determined at the state level. Households that may experience bankruptcy thus have an incentive to bias their portfolios towards home equity. Using US household data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation for the period 1996-2006, we find that especially households with low net worth maintain a larger share of their wealth as home equity if a larger homestead exemption applies. This home equity bias is also more pronounced if the household head is in poor health, increasing the chance of bankruptcy on account of unpaid medical bills. The bias is further stronger for households with mortgage finance, shorter house tenures, and younger household heads, which taken together reflect households that face more financial uncertainty.

No. 1336
2 May 2011
A monetary policy strategy in good and bad times: lessons from the recent past
Published in: Economic Policy, Vol 28 (74), 2013: pp 243-288

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

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

No. 1335
2 May 2011
The bank lending channel: lessons from the crisis
Published in: Economic Policy, Vol (26) 66, 2011: pp 137-182

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

The 2007-2010 financial crisis highlighted the central role of financial intermediaries

No. 1334
2 May 2011
On the importance of sectoral and regional shocks for price-setting

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

C38 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Classification Methods, Cluster Analysis, Principal Components, Factor Models

D4 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing

F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

Abstract

We use a novel disaggregate sectoral euro area data set with a regional breakdown to investigate price changes and suggest a new method to extract factors from over-lapping data blocks. This allows us to separately estimate aggregate, sectoral, country-specific and regional components of price changes. We thereby provide an improved estimate of the sectoral factor in comparison with previous literature, which decomposes price changes into an aggregate and idiosyncratic component only, and interprets the latter as sectoral. We find that the sectoral component explains much less of the variation in sectoral regional inflation rates and exhibits much less volatility than previous findings for the US indicate. We further contribute to the literature on price setting by providing evidence that country- and region-specific factors play an important role in addition to the sector-specific factors. We conclude that sectoral price changes have a “geographical” dimension, that leads to new insights regarding the properties of sectoral price changes.

No. 1333
20 April 2011
Distributional dynamics under smoothly state-dependent pricing

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

D81 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

Abstract

Starting from the assumption that firms are more likely to adjust their prices when doing so is more valuable, this paper analyzes monetary policy shocks in a DSGE model with firm-level heterogeneity. The model is calibrated to retail price microdata, and inflation responses are decomposed into “intensive”, “extensive”, and “selection” margins. Money growth and Taylor rule shocks both have nontrivial real effects, because the low state dependence implied by the data rules out the strong selection effect associated with fixed menu costs. The response to firm-specific shocks is gradual, though inappropriate econometrics might make it appear immediate.

No. 1332
20 April 2011
Central bank communication on financial stability
Published in: Economic Journal (forthcoming)

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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

Abstract

Central banks regularly communicate about financial stability issues, by publishing Financial Stability Reports (FSRs) and through speeches and interviews. The paper asks how such communications affect financial markets. Building a unique dataset, it provides an empirical assessment of the reactions of stock markets to more than 1000 releases of FSRs and speeches by 37 central banks over the past 14 years. The findings suggest that FSRs have a significant and potentially long-lasting effect on stock market returns, and also tend to reduce market volatility. Speeches and interviews, in contrast, have little effect on market returns and do not generate a volatility reduction during tranquil times, but have had a substantial effect during the 2007-10 financial crisis. The findings suggest that financial stability communication by central banks are perceived by markets to contain relevant information, and they underline the importance of differentiating between communication tools, their content and the environment in which they are employed.

No. 1331
20 April 2011
Business cycle dynamics under rational inattention

Abstract

JEL Classification

D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief

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

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

Abstract

We develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with rational inattention by households and firms. Consumption responds slowly to interest rate changes because households decide to pay little attention to the real interest rate. Prices respond quickly to some shocks and slowly to other shocks. The mix of fast and slow responses of prices to shocks matches the pattern found in the empirical literature. Changes in the conduct of monetary policy yield very different outcomes than in models currently used at central banks because systematic changes in policy cause reallocation of attention by decision-makers in households and firms.

No. 1330
20 April 2011
Financial remoteness and the net external position

Abstract

JEL Classification

F21 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→International Investment, Long-Term Capital Movements

F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems

F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics

Abstract

This paper shows that, controlling for standard determinants of net external positions, financially-remote countries exhibit more positive net external positions. This finding is found to be stronger for less advanced countries, hinting at external funding problems for more remote countries. Being located near financially very open countries, being in currency unions with creditor countries, or being highly integrated through financial and trade linkages with a ‘core’ country facilitates net external borrowing. Consequently, evidence is found for an important role of geographic and bilateral factors for a country’s net external wealth.

No. 1329
20 April 2011
Securitization, bank lending and credit quality: the case of Spain
Published in: Journal of International Money and Finance, Vol 31, 2012: pp 80

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates

Abstract

While the 2007-2010 financial crisis has hit a variety of countries asymmetrically, the case of Spain is particularly illustrative: this country experienced a pronounced housing bubble partly funded via spectacular developments in its securitization markets leading to looser credit standards and subsequent financial stability problems. We analyze the sequential deterioration of credit in this country considering rating changes in individual securitized deals and on balance sheet bank conditions. Using a sample of 20,286 observations on securities and rating changes from 2000Q1 to 2010Q1 we build a model in which loan growth, on balancesheet credit quality and rating changes are estimated simultaneously. Our results suggest that loan growth significantly affects on balance-sheet loan performance with a lag of at least two years. Additionally, loan performance is found to lead rating changes with a lag of four quarters. Importantly, bank characteristics (in particular, observed solvency, cash flow generation and cost efficiency) also affect ratings considerably. Additionally, these other bank characteristics seem to have a higher weight in the rating changes of securities issued by savings banks as compared to those issued by commercial banks.

No. 1328
20 April 2011
The effectiveness of monetary policy in steering money market rates during the recent financial crisis

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

Abstract

The recent financial crisis deeply affected the money market yield curve and thus, potentially, the proper functioning of the interest rate channel of monetary policy transmission. Therefore, we analyze the effectiveness of monetary policy in steering euro area money market rates using two measures: first, the predictability of money market rates on the basis of monetary policy expectations, and second the impact of extraordinary central bank measures on money market rates. We find that market expectations about monetary policy are less relevant for money market rates up to 12 months after August 2007 compared to the pre-crisis period. At the same time, our results indicate that the ECB’s net increase in outstanding open market operations as of October 2008 accounts for at least a 100 basis point decline in Euribor rates. These findings show that central banks have effective tools at hand to conduct monetary policy in times of crises.

No. 1327
13 April 2011
Systemic risk diagnostics: coincident indicators and early warning signals

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

Abstract

We propose a novel framework to assess financial system risk. Using a dynamic factor framework based on state-space methods, we construct coincident measures (

No. 1326
13 April 2011
Welfare costs of inflation and the circulation of US currency abroad
Published in: The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol 11 (1), 2011: Article 12.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

Abstract

Empirical studies of the "shoe-leather" costs of inflation are typically computed using M1 as a measure of money. Yet, official data on M1 includes all currency issued, regardless of the country of residence of the holder. Using monetary data adjusted for US dollars abroad, we show that the failure to control for currency held by non residents may lead to significantly overestimating the shoe-leather costs for the domestic economy. In particular, our estimates of shoe-leather costs are minimized for a positive but moderate value of the inflation rate, thereby justifying a deviation from the Friedman rule in favour of the Fed's current policy.

No. 1325
8 April 2011
Wage structure effects of international trade: evidence from a small open economy
Published in: Review of World Economics, Vol 148 (2), June 2012: pp 297-331

Abstract

JEL Classification

F16 : International Economics→Trade→Trade and Labor Market Interactions

J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials

Abstract

In the last decades, international trade has increased between industrialised countries and between high- and low-wage countries. This important change has raised questions on how international trade affects the labour market. In this spirit, this paper aims to investigate the impact of international trade on wage dispersion in a small open economy. It is one of the few to: i) use detailed matched employer-employee data to compute industry wage premia and disaggregated industry level panel data to examine the impact of changes in exports and imports on changes in wage differentials, ii) examine the impact of imports according to the country of origin. Looking at the export side, we find a positive effect of exports on the industry wage premium. The results also show that import penetration from low

No. 1324
8 April 2011
Nowcasting inflation using high frequency data

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

This paper proposes a methodology to nowcast and forecast inflation using data with sampling frequency higher than monthly. The nowcasting literature has been focused on GDP, typically using monthly indicators in order to produce an accurate estimate for the current and next quarter. This paper exploits data with weekly and daily frequency in order to produce more accurate estimates of inflation for the current and followings months. In particular, this paper uses the Weekly Oil Bulletin Price Statistics for the euro area, the Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices for the US and daily World Market Prices of Raw Materials. The data are modeled as a trading day frequency factor model with missing observations in a state space representation. For the estimation we adopt the methodology exposed in Banbura and Modugno (2010). In contrast to other existing approaches, the methodology used in this paper has the advantage of modeling all data within a unified single framework that, nevertheless, allows one to produce forecasts of all variables involved. This offers the advantage of disentangling a model-based measure of ”news” from each data release and subsequently to assess its impact on the forecast revision. The paper provides an illustrative example of this procedure. Overall, the results show that these data improve forecast accuracy over models that exploit data available only at monthly frequency for both countries.

No. 1323
8 April 2011
Structural reforms and macroeconomic performance in the euro area countries: a model-based assessment
Published in: International Finance, Vol 16 (1), Spring 2013: pp 23-44

Abstract

JEL Classification

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

F47 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

We quantitatively assess the macroeconomic effects of country-specific supply-side reforms in the euro area by simulating EAGLE, a multi-country dynamic general equilibrium model. We consider reforms in the labor and services markets of Germany (or, alternatively, Portugal) and the rest of the euro area. Our main results are as follows. First, there are benefits from implementing unilateral structural reforms. A reduction of markup by 15 percentage points in the German (Portuguese) labor and services market would induce an increase in the long-run German (Portuguese) output equal to 8.8 (7.8) percent. As reforms are implemented gradually over a period of five years, output would smoothly reach its new long-run level in seven years. Second, cross-country coordination of reforms would add extra benefits to each region in the euro area, by limiting the deterioration of relative prices and purchasing power that a country faces when implementing reforms unilaterally. This is true in particular for a small and open economy such as Portugal. Specifically, in the long run German output would increase by 9.2 percent, Portuguese output by 8.6 percent. Third, cross-country coordination would make the macroeconomic performance of the different regions belonging to the euro area more homogeneous, both in terms of price competitiveness and real activity. Overall, our results suggest that reforms implemented apart by each country in the euro area produce positive effects, cross-country coordination produces larger and more evenly distributed (positive) effects.

No. 1322
8 April 2011
Business cycle synchronisation: disentangling trade and financial linkages
Published in: Open Economies Review, Vol 23 (4), 2012: pp 623-643

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

Drawing on a large sample of countries, this paper explores whether closer economic ties between countries foster business cycle synchronisation and disentangles the role of the various channels, including trade and financial linkages as well as the similarity in sectoral specialisation. Overall, our results confirm that trade integration fosters business cycle synchronisation. Similar patterns of sectoral specialisation also lead to closer business cycle co-movement. By contrast, it remains difficult to find a direct relationship between bilateral financial linkages and output correlation. However, our results suggest that financial integration affects business cycle synchronisation indirectly by raising the similarity in sectoral specialisation. Through this indirect link, financial integration tends to raise business cycle comovement between countries.

No. 1321
8 April 2011
Macroeconomic implications of downward wage rigidities

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

C61 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling→Optimization Techniques, Programming Models, Dynamic Analysis

Abstract

Growth of wages, unemployment, employment and vacancies exhibit strong asymmetries between expansionary and contractionary phases. In this paper we analyze to what degree downward wage rigidities in the bargaining process affect other variables of the economy. We introduce asymmetric wage adjustment costs in a New-Keynesian DSGE model with search and matching frictions in the labor market. We find that the presence of downward wage rigidities strongly improves the fit of the model to the skewness of variables and the relative length of expansionary and contractionary phases even when detrending the data. Due to the asymmetry, wages increase more easily in expansions, which limits vacancy posting and employment creation, similar to the flexible wage case. During contractions nominal wages decrease slowly, shifting the main burden of adjustment to employment and hours worked. The asymmetry also explains the differing transmission of positive and negative demand shocks from wages to inflation. Downward wage rigidities help explaining the asymmetric business cycle of many OECD countries where long and smooth expansions with low growth rates are followed by sharp but short recessions with large negative growth rates.

No. 1320
7 April 2011
What lies beneath? A time-varying FAVAR model for the UK transmission mechanism

Abstract

JEL Classification

C38 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Classification Methods, Cluster Analysis, Principal Components, Factor Models

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

Abstract

This paper uses a time-varying Factor Augmented VAR to investigate the evolving transmission of monetary policy and demand shocks in the UK. Simultaneous estimation of time-varying impulse responses of a large set of macroeconomic variables and disaggregated prices suggest that the response of inflation, money supply and asset prices to monetary policy and demand shocks has changed over the sample period. In particular, during the post-1992 inflation targeting period, monetary policy shocks started having a bigger impact on prices, a smaller impact on activity and began contributing more to overall volatility. In contrast, demand shocks had the largest impact on these variables before the 1990s. We also document changes in the response of disaggregated prices, with the median reaction to contractionary policy shocks becoming more negative and the distribution more dispersed post-1992.

No. 1319
7 April 2011
Fiscal developments and financial stress: a threshold VAR analysis

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General

Abstract

We use a threshold VAR analysis to study whether the effects of fiscal policy on economic activity differ depending on financial market conditions. In particular, we investigate the possibility of a non-linear propagation of fiscal developments according to different financial market stress regimes. More specifically we employ a quarterly dataset, for the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Italy, for the period 1980:4-2009:4, encompassing macro, fiscal and financial variables. The results show that (i) the use of a nonlinear framework with regime switches is corroborated by nonlinearity tests; (ii) the responses of economic growth to a fiscal shock are mostly positive in both financial stress regimes; (iii) financial stress has a negative effect on output growth and worsens the fiscal position; (iv) the nonlinearity in the response of output growth to a fiscal shock is mainly associated with different behaviour across regimes; (v) the size of the fiscal multipliers is higher than average in the last crisis.

No. 1318
7 April 2011
Using the global dimension to identify shocks with sign restrictions
Published in: Staff Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Dec, as: "How the global perspective can help us identify structural shocks"

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

F37 : International Economics→International Finance→International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics

F47 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

Identification of structural VARs using sign restrictions has become increasingly popular in the academic literature. This paper (i) argues that identification of shocks can benefit from introducing a global dimension, and (ii) shows that summarising information by the median of the available impulse responses

No. 1317
7 April 2011
Financial imbalances and financial fragility

Abstract

JEL Classification

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

This paper develops a general equilibrium model to analyse the link between financial imbalances and financial crises. The model features an interbank market subject to frictions and where two equilibria may (co-)exist. The normal times equilibrium is characterized by a deep market with highly leveraged banks. The crisis times equilibrium is characterized by bank deleveraging, a market run, and a liquidity trap. Crises occur when there is too much liquidity (savings) in the economy with respect to the number of (safe) investment opportunities. In effect, the economy is shown to have a limited liquidity absorption capacity, which depends

No. 1316
7 April 2011
The ECB's New Multi-Country Model for the euro area: NMCM - with boundedly rational learning expectations

Abstract

JEL Classification

C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation

D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief

D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

Abstract

Rational expectations has been the dominant way to model expectations, but the literature has quickly moved to a more realistic assumption of boundedly rational learning where agents are assumed to use only a limited set of information to form their expectations. A standard assumption is that agents form expectations by using the correctly specified reduced form model of the economy, the minimal state variable solution (MSV), but they do not know the parameters. However, with medium-sized and large models the closed-form MSV solutions are difficult to attain given the large number of variables that could be included. Therefore, agents base expectations on a misspecified MSV solution. In contrast, we assume agents know the deep parameters of their own optimising frameworks. However, they are not assumed to know the structure nor the parameterisation of the rest of the economy, nor do they know the stochastic processes generating shocks hitting the economy. In addition, agents are assumed to know that the changes (or the growth rates) of fundament variables can be modelled as stationary ARMA (p,q) processes, the exact form of which is not, however, known by agents. This approach avoids the complexities of dealing with a potential vast multitude of alternative mis-specified MSVs. Using a new Multi-country Euro area Model with Boundedly Estimated Rationality we show this approach is compatible with the same limited information assumption that was used in deriving and estimating the behavioural equations of different optimizing agents. We find that there are strong differences in the adjustment path to the shocks to the economy when agent form expectations using our learning approach compared to expectations formed under the assumption of strong rationality. Furthermore, we find that some variation in expansionary fiscal policy in periods of downturns compared to boom periods.

No. 1315
7 April 2011
The ECB's New Multi-Country Model for the euro area: NMCM - simulated with rational expectations

Abstract

JEL Classification

C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation

C6 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

Abstract

The model presented here is a New estimated medium-scale Multi-Country Model (NMCM) which covers the five largest euro area countries and is used for forecasting and scenarios analysis at the European Central Bank. The model has a tight theoretical structure which allows for non-unitary elasticity of substitution, non-constant augmenting technical progress and heterogeneous sectors with differentiated price and income elastiticites of demand across sectors. Furthermore, it has the explicit inclusion of expectations on the basis of three optimising private sector decision making units: i.e. firms, trade unions and households, where output is in the short run demand-determined and monopolistically competing firms set prices and factor demands. Labour is indivisible and monopoly-unions set wages and households make consumption/saving decisions. We assume agents optimise under limited information where each agent knows only the parameters related to his/her optimization problem. Therefore we estimate with GMM, which implicitly assumes limited information boundedly rational expectations. In this paper we provide some simulation results under the assumption of model-consistent rational expectations, we show that there is some heterogeneity across countries and that the reactions of the economies to shocks depends strongly on whether the shocks are pre-announced, announced and credible or unannounced and uncredible.

No. 1314
1 April 2011
Price and wage setting in Portugal: learning by asking

Abstract

JEL Classification

D21 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Theory

E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General

J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials

Abstract

This paper presents the main findings of a survey conducted on a sample of Portuguese firms. The main aim was to identify some relevant characteristics about the dynamics of prices and wages in Portugal. The most important conclusions are: i) changes to wages are more synchronized than changes to prices; ii) most wages are defined using inflation as a yardstick, even though there are no formal rules; iii) the wages of most workers are defined in terms of sector-related collective agreements; iv) a considerable proportion of workers receive wages above those been agreed under the collective agreement; v) firms make frequent use of other mechanisms to cut payroll costs as a way of overcoming the restrictions imposed by downward nominal wage rigidity.

No. 1313
24 March 2011
News and policy foresight in a macro-finance model of the US

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

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

Abstract

We study the effects of information shocks on macroeconomic and term structure dynamics in an estimated medium-scale DSGE model for the US economy. We consider news about total factor productivity and investment-specific technology, as well as foresight about monetary policy. Our empirical investigation confirms the findings of previous studies on the limited role played by productivity news in this class of models. In contrast, we uncover a non-trivial role for investment-specific news and anticipated monetary policy shocks not only in the historical and variance decomposition of real economic variables but also for the overall dynamic behaviour of the term structure of interest rates. We also document substantial qualitative differences in the dynamic responses of the macro-economy and the bond yield term structure to anticipated and surprise structural and policy innovations.

No. 1312
24 March 2011
A structural model of central bank operations and bank intermediation

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

The banking system is modelled in a closed system of financial accounts, whereby the equilibrium volume of bank intermediation between households and corporates reflects structural parameters such as household preferences, comparative cost structures of heterogeneous banks, loan demand of corporates, and the difference between the borrowing rate and the deposit facility rate of the central bank. The model also allows understanding the link between this difference (the width of the central bank standing facilities corridor) and the stance of monetary policy, and how this link changes during a financial crisis. It is shown how the narrowing of the standing facilities corridor can make more accommodating the stance of monetary policy in a financial crisis.

No. 1311
24 March 2011
Macro-financial vulnerabilities and future financial stress: assessing systemic risks and predicting systemic events
Published in: Journal of Banking & Finance, Vol 37 (7), July 2013: pp 2183-2195.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

F01 : International Economics→General→Global Outlook

F37 : International Economics→International Finance→International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for assessing systemic risks and for predicting (out-of-sample) systemic events, i.e. periods of extreme financial instability with potential real costs. We test the ability of a wide range of

No. 1310
24 March 2011
Is China climbing up the quality ladder? Estimating cross country differences in product quality using Eurostat's COMEXT trade database

Abstract

JEL Classification

F1 : International Economics→Trade

F12 : International Economics→Trade→Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies, Fragmentation

F14 : International Economics→Trade→Empirical Studies of Trade

F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration

F23 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→Multinational Firms, International Business

Abstract

There is an ongoing debate in the literature about the quality content of Chinese exports and to what extent China imposes a threat to the market positions of advanced economies. While China

No. 1309
15 March 2011
Skills and wage inequality in Greece: evidence from matched employer-employee data, 1995-2002

Abstract

JEL Classification

J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials

Abstract

This paper examines changes in the Greek wage distribution over 1995-2002 and the role of skills in these changes using a matched employer-employee data set. This data set enables us to account for firm heterogeneity and obtain a more refined picture of the impact of skills. The methodology adopted is the Machado-Mata decomposition technique, which separates the part of wage changes that is due to changes in the job/employer and employee characteristics from the part due to changes in the returns to these characteristics. Our results indicate that the role of skills has been decisive. The skill return effects in combination with the composition effects of tenure, which are arguably responsive to economic developments and market conditions, have had an important contribution to the changes in the Greek wage distribution. On the other hand, the impact of predetermined demographic changes, as those captured by the age and education composition effects, has been relatively milder.

No. 1308
9 March 2011
Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits

Abstract

JEL Classification

H3 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt

E6 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

Abstract

This paper studies welfare consequences of a soft borrowing constraint on sovereign debt which is modelled as a proportional fine per unit of debt exceeding some reference value. Debt is the result of myopic fiscal policy where the government is assumed to have a smaller discount factor than the private sector. Due to the absence of lump-sum taxation, debt reduces welfare. The paper shows that the imposition of a soft borrowing constraint, which resembles features of the Stability and Growth Pact and which is taken into account by the policy maker when setting its instruments, prevents excessive borrowing. The constraint can be implemented such as to (i) control the long run level of debt, (ii) prevent debt accumulation, and (iii) induce debt consolidation. In all three cases the constraint enhances welfare and in a welfare ranking these gains outweigh the short run welfare losses of increasing the costs of using debt to smooth taxes over the business cycle.

No. 1307
3 March 2011
The response of labour taxation to changes in government debt

Abstract

JEL Classification

H2 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

H24 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt

J22 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Time Allocation and Labor Supply

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between government debt and labour taxation for a panel of 18 EU countries over the period 1979-2008. The econometric estimates point to a statistically significant and economically relevant positive response of labour taxation to changes in the general government debt and interest expenditure-to-GDP ratios. The results are robust across a range of econometric specifications and labour tax indicators.

No. 1306
1 March 2011
Why are some prices stickier than others? Firm-data evidence on price adjustment lags

Abstract

JEL Classification

C41 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Duration Analysis, Optimal Timing Strategies

D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

Abstract

Infrequent price changes at the firm level are now well documented in the literature. However, a number of issues remain partly unaddressed. This paper contributes to the literature on price stickiness by investigating the lags of price adjustments to different types of shocks. We find that adjustment lags to cost and demand shocks vary with firm characteristics, namely the firm's cost structure, the type of pricing policy, and the type of good. We also document that firms react asymmetrically to demand and cost shocks, as well as to positive and negative shocks, and that the degree and direction of the asymmetry varies across firms.

No. 1305
1 March 2011
Choosing between time and state dependence: micro evidence on firms' price-reviewing strategies

Abstract

JEL Classification

C41 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Duration Analysis, Optimal Timing Strategies

D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

Abstract

Thanks to recent findings based on survey data, it is now well known that firms differ from each other with respect to their price-reviewing strategies. While some firms review their prices at fixed intervals of time, others prefer to perform price revisions in response to changes in economic conditions. In order to explain this fact, some theories have been suggested in the literature. However, empirical evidence on the relative importance of the factors determining firms' different strategies is virtually non-existent. This paper contributes to filling this gap by investigating the factors that explain why firms follow time-, state- or time- and state-dependent price-reviewing rules. We find that firms' strategies vary with firm characteristics that have a bearing on the importance of information costs, the variability of the optimal price and the sensitivity of profits to non-optimal prices. Menu costs, however, do not seem to play a significant role.

No. 1304
28 February 2011
Subprime consumer credit demand: evidence from a lender's pricing experiment
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

D11 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Theory

D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

Abstract

We test the interest rate sensitivity of sub-prime credit card borrowers using a unique panel data set from a UK credit card company. What is novel about our contribution is that we were given details of a randomized interest rate experiment conducted by the lender between October 2006 and January 2007. We find that individuals who tend to utilize their credit limits fully do not reduce their demand for credit when subject to increases in interest rates as high as 3 percentage points. This finding is naturally interpreted as evidence of binding liquidity constraints. We also demonstrate the importance of truly exogenous variation in interest rates when estimating credit demand elasticities. We show that estimating a standard credit demand equation with non-experimental variation leads to seriously biased estimates even when conditioning on a rich set of controls and individual fixed effects. In particular, this procedure results in a large and statistically significant 3-month elasticity of credit card debt with respect to interest rates even though the experimental estimate of the same elasticity is neither economically nor statistically different from zero.

No. 1303
28 February 2011
Behavioural characteristics and financial distress
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

Abstract

Using a new nationally representative survey of financial capability and experience in the UK and Ireland, I investigate the key factors that cause individuals to experience financial distress. In this context, a key area that I focus on is whether individuals

No. 1302
28 February 2011
The immigrant/native wealth gap in Germany, Italy and Luxembourg
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions

F22 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→International Migration

Abstract

This paper analyses the existence of an immigrant/native wealth gap by using household survey data for Luxembourg, Germany and Italy. The results show that, in all three countries, a sizeable wealth gap exists between natives and immigrants. Towards the upper tail of the wealth distribution the gap narrows to a small extent. This gap persists even after controlling for demographic characteristics, country of origin, cohort and age at migration although cross-country differences exist in the immigration penalty.

No. 1301
28 February 2011
Wealth mobility and dynamics over entire individual working life cycles
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions

D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving

H24 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

Abstract

We study taxable wealth in unique Swedish administrative data, annually following a large sample of households over a period of almost 40 years. The main data limitation is non-observability of wealth for those below the tax exemption level. This implies that much of the focus of the paper is on the rich, since we are confined to those whose wealth becomes taxable over time. We exploit the long panel dimension by estimating dynamic

No. 1300
28 February 2011
Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions

J15 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants, Non-labor Discrimination

Abstract

We found that on average over the period from 1989 to 2007, 21 percent of American households at a given point of time received a wealth transfer and these accounted for 23 percent of their net worth. Over the lifetime, about 30 percent of households could expect to receive a wealth transfer and these would account for close to 40 percent of their net worth near time of death. However, there is little evidence of an inheritance

No. 1299
28 February 2011
Who lost the most? Financial literacy, cognitive abilities, and the financial crisis
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions

Abstract

We study how and to what extent private households are affected by the recent financial crisis and how their financial decisions are influenced by this shock. Our analysis reveals that individuals with low levels of financial literacy are less likely to have invested in the stock market and thus are less likely to report losses in wealth. Yet, individuals with low financial literacy are more likely to sell their assets which lost in value (realize losses). This reaction to short-term losses has potential long-term consequences if individuals do not participate in markets' recovery and face lower returns in the long run.

No. 1298
28 February 2011
Check in the mail or more in the paycheck: does the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus depend on how it is delivered?
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

H31 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→Household

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

C83 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Survey Methods, Sampling Methods

Abstract

Recent fiscal policies have aimed to stimulate household spending. In 2008, most households received one-time economic stimulus payments. In 2009, most working households received the Making Work Pay tax credit in the form of reduced withholding; other households, mainly retirees, received one-time payments. This paper quantifies the spending response to these different policies and examines whether the spending response differed according to whether the stimulus was delivered as a one-time payment or as a flow of payments in the form of reduced withholding. Based on responses from a representative sample of households in the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the paper finds that the reduction in withholding led to a substantially lower rate of spending than the one-time payments. Specifically, 25 percent of households reported that the one-time economic stimulus payment in 2008 led them to mostly increase their spending while only 13 percent reported that the extra pay from the lower withholding in 2009 led them to mostly increase their spending. The paper uses several approaches to isolate the effect of the delivery mechanism from the changing aggregate and individual conditions. Responses to a hypothetical stimulus in 2009, examination of

No. 1297
28 February 2011
Consumption and initial mortgage conditions: evidence from survey data
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving

Abstract

Economic theory predicts that the consumption path of unconstrained home owners responds to the interest rate, while the consumption path of credit constrained home owners is determined by the size and timing of payments (mortgage maturity). We exploit the rapid expansion of mortgage markets during the last decade in Spain and a very detailed survey on household finances to estimate group-specific consumption responses to changes in the credit conditions. Our estimates suggest that the consumption of households headed by an individual with high school responds more to mortgage maturity than to the interest rate spread. The consumption of the rest of indebted households is insensitive to loan maturity. Those results are confirmed when we instrument loan maturity exploiting the fact that banks are reluctant to offer contracts with age at maturity above 65. An interpretation of those results is that households headed by middle education individuals, 8% of our sample, behave as credit constrained.

No. 1296
28 February 2011
Financial advice and stock market participation
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

E1 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models

G2 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services

D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

Abstract

We introduce professional financial advice in households

No. 1295
28 February 2011
Which households use banks? Evidence from the transition economies
Conference on household finance and consumption

Abstract

JEL Classification

G2 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services

G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation

O16 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Financial Markets, Saving and Capital Investment, Corporate Finance and Governance

P34 : Economic Systems→Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions→Financial Economics

Abstract

This paper uses survey data for 29,000 households from 29 transition economies to explore how the use of banking services is related to household characteristics, bank ownership structure and the development of the financial infrastructure. At the household level we find that the holding of a bank account or bank card increases with income, wealth and education in most countries and also find evidence for an urban-rural gap, as well as for a role of religion and social integration. Our results show that foreign bank ownership is associated with more bank accounts among high-wealth, high-income, and educated households. State ownership, on the other hand, does not induce financial inclusion of rural and poorer households. We find that higher deposit insurance coverage, better payment systems and creditor protection encourage the holding of bank accounts in particular by high income and high-wealth households. All in all, our findings shed doubt on the ability of policy levers to broaden the financial system to disadvantaged groups.

No. 1294
16 February 2011
The normalized CES production function: theory and empirics
Published in: Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol 26 (5), 2012: pp 769-799

Abstract

JEL Classification

C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes

E23 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Production

E25 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

O30 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights→General

O51 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→U.S., Canada

Abstract

The elasticity of substitution between capital and labor and, in turn, the direction of technical change are critical parameters in many fields of economics. Until recently, though, the application of production functions with non-unitary substitution elasticities (i.e., non Cobb Douglas) was hampered by empirical and theoretical uncertainties. As has recently been revealed,

No. 1293
10 February 2011
Financing obstacles among euro area firms: Who suffers the most?

Abstract

JEL Classification

E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity

G30 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→General

G10 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→General

O16 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Financial Markets, Saving and Capital Investment, Corporate Finance and Governance

K40 : Law and Economics→Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior→General

Abstract

In this study we investigate the determinants of financing obstacles using survey data on a sample of around 5000 firms from the euro area countries. This completely new survey – started at the end of 2009 - gives us the opportunity to test whether firm characteristics such as size, age, economic branch, financial autonomy and ownership are valid predictors of financing obstacles also during the recent financial crisis. Our results show that only age and ownership are robust explanatory variables for firms’ perceived financing obstacles while mixed results are found for size and economic branches.

No. 1292
9 February 2011
Does the euro make a difference? Spatio-temporal transmission of global shocks to real effective exchange rates in an infinite VAR
Published in: B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol 13(1), 2013: pp 1-48 as "How have global shocks impacted the real effective exchange rates of individual euro area countries since the euro's creation?"

Abstract

JEL Classification

C21 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Cross-Sectional Models, Spatial Models, Treatment Effect Models, Quantile Regressions

C23 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on whether the creation of the euro has changed the way global turbulences affect euro area and other economies. Specifically, it considers the impact of global shocks on the competitiveness of individual euro area countries and assesses whether their responses to such shocks have converged, as well as to what pattern. Technically, the paper applies a newly developed methodology based on infinite VAR theory featuring a dominant unit to a large set of over 60 countries' real effective exchange rates, including those of the individual euro area economies, and compares impulse response functions to the estimated systems before and after EMU with respect to three types of shocks: a global US dollar shock, generalised impulse response function shocks and a global shock to risk aversion. Our results show that the way euro area countries' real effective exchange rates adjust to these shocks has converged indeed, albeit to a pattern that depends crucially on the nature of the shock. This result is noteworthy given the apparent divergence in competitiveness indicators of these countries in the first ten years of EMU, which suggests that this diverging pattern is unlikely to be due to global external shocks with asymmetric effects but rather to other factors, such as country-specific domestic shocks.

No. 1291
9 February 2011
Liquidity requirements and payment delays - participant type dependent preferences

Abstract

JEL Classification

C15 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Statistical Simulation Methods: General

C5 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

L14 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Transactional Relationships, Contracts and Reputation, Networks

L41 : Industrial Organization→Antitrust Issues and Policies→Monopolization, Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

L51 : Industrial Organization→Regulation and Industrial Policy→Economics of Regulation

Abstract

The paper presents an analysis of the trade-offs of participants of different type between payment delay and liquidity requirement on the basis of synthetically generated data. The generation of the synthetic transaction data set for a simple RTGS system is described and calibrated using real world parameters. The payment system is simulated for various liquidity levels and it is shown that participants of different size in terms of transaction volume and value will have different optimal liquidity requirements, as the payment delays they face for each liquidity level will be different. This is shown using indifference curves between payment delay and liquidity requirements.

No. 1290
14 January 2011
Non-standard monetary policy measures and monetary developments
Published in: Interest Rates, Prices and Liquidity - Lessons from the Financial Crisis, Jagjit S. Chadha, Sean Holly (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2011: pp 195-221.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

E4 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

Abstract

Standard accounts of the Great Depression attribute an important causal role to monetary policy errors in accounting for the catastrophic collapse in economic activity observed in the early 1930s. While views vary on the relative importance of money versus credit contraction in the propagation of this policy error to the wider economy and ultimately price developments, a broad consensus exists in the economics profession around the view that the collapse in financial intermediation was a crucial intermediary step. What lessons have monetary policy makers taken from this episode? And how have they informed the conduct of monetary policy by leading central banks in recent times? This paper sets out to address these questions, in the context of the financial crisis of 2008-09 and with application to the euro area. It concludes that the Eurosystem’s non-standard monetary policy measures have supported monetary policy transmission and avoided the calamity of the 1930s.

No. 1289
12 January 2011
Bayesian prior elicitation in DSGE models: macro- vs micro-priors
Published in: Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol 36, 2012: pp 294-313

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General

Abstract

Bayesian approaches to the estimation of DSGE models are becoming increasingly popular. Prior knowledge is normally formalized either be information concerning deep parameters

No. 1288
11 January 2011
Getting beyond carry trade: what makes a safe haven currency?
Published in: Journal of International Economics, Vol 87 (1), May 2012: pp 50

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

There is already a substantial literature documenting the fact that low yield currencies typically appreciate during times of global financial stress and behave as safe havens. The main objective of this paper is to find out what the fundamentals of safe haven currencies are. We analyse a large panel of 52 currencies in advanced and emerging countries over almost 25 years of data. We find that only a few factors are robustly associated to a safe haven status, most notably the net foreign asset position, an indicator of external vulnerability, and to a lesser extent the absolute size of the stock market, an indicator of market size and development. The interest rate spread against the US is significant only for advanced countries, whose currencies are subject to carry trade. More generally, we find that it is hard to predict what currencies would do when global risk aversion is high, as estimates are imprecise and often not stable or robust. This suggests caution in over-interpreting exchange rate movements during financial crises.

No. 1287
11 January 2011
Are universal banks better underwriters? Evidence from the last days of the Glass-Steagall Act

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G24 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Investment Banking, Venture Capital, Brokerage, Ratings and Ratings Agencies

N22 : Economic History→Financial Markets and Institutions→U.S., Canada: 1913?

Abstract

It has often been argued during the recent credit crisis that commercial banks’ involvement in investment banking activities might have had an impact on the intensity of their underwriting standards. We turn to evidence from the period prior to the complete revocation of the Glass-Steagall Act in the United States and analyze whether investment banks or – section 20 subsidiaries of – commercial banks underwrote riskier securities. We compare actual defaults of these deals for an extensive sample of about 4,000 corporate debt securities underwritten during the period of the de facto softening of the Act’s restrictions. Securities underwritten by commercial banks’ subsidiaries have a higher probability of default than those underwritten by investment houses. This evidence is stronger in the case of ex-ante riskier and more competitive issues, and during the first years of bank securities’ subsidiaries’ entry into the market. Based on our results, it is not possible to reject that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall led to looser credit screening by broad (universal) banking companies trying to gain market share and/or to the lower initial ability of these banks to correctly evaluate default risk.

No. 1286
10 January 2011
Corporate bond spreads and real activity in the euro area - Least Angle Regression forecasting and the probability of the recession

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill

Abstract

This paper aims at providing a detailed analysis of the leading indicator properties of corporate bond spreads for real economic activity in the euro area. In- and out-of-sample predictive content of corporate bond spreads are examined along three dimensions: the bonds

No. 1285
10 January 2011
Identifying the global transmission of the 2007-09 financial crisis in a GVAR Model
Published in: European Economic Review, Vol 55 (3), April 2011, pp 325-339.

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

F3 : International Economics→International Finance

C5 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling

Abstract

The paper analyses and compares the role that the tightening in liquidity conditions and the collapse in risk appetite played for the global transmission of the financial crisis. Dealing with identification and the large dimensionality of the empirical exercise with a Global VAR approach, the findings highlight the diversity of the transmission process. While liquidity shocks have had a more severe impact on advanced economies, it was mainly the decline in risk appetite that affected emerging market economies. The tightening of financial conditions was a key transmission channel for advanced economies, whereas for emerging markets it was mainly the real side of the economy that suffered. Moreover, there are some striking differences also within types of economies, with Europe being more adversely affected by the fall in risk appetite than other advanced economies.

No. 1284
5 January 2011
Euro area labour markets: different reaction to shocks?

Abstract

JEL Classification

C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

J21 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

Abstract

A small labour market model for the six largest euro area countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium) is estimated in a state -space framework. The model entails, in the long run, four driving forces: a trend labour force component, a trend labour productivity component, a long-run inflation rate and a trend hours worked component. The short run dynamics is governed by a VAR model including six shocks. The state-space framework is convenient for the decomposition of endogenous variables in trends and cycles, for shock decomposition, for incorporating external judgement, and for running conditional projections. The forecast performance of the model is rather satisfactory. The model is used to carry out a policy experiment with the objective of investigating whether euro area countries differ in the labour market adjustment to a reduction in labour costs. Results suggest that, following the 2008-09 recession, moderate wage growth would significantly help delivering a more job-intense recovery.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the papers are published in the name of the author(s). Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the ECB.