Lien Laureys, Mr. Roland Meeks, and Boromeus Wanengkirtyo
We reconsider the design of welfare-optimal monetary policy when financing frictions impair the supply of bank credit, and when the objectives set for monetary policy must be simple enough to be implementable and allow for effective accountability. We show that a flexible inflation targeting approach that places weight on stabilizing inflation, a measure of resource utilization, and a financial variable produces welfare benefits that are almost indistinguishable from fully-optimal Ramsey policy. The macro-financial trade-off in our estimated model of the euro area turns out to be modest, implying that the effects of financial frictions can be ameliorated at little cost in terms of inflation. A range of different financial objectives and policy preferences lead to similar conclusions.
This paper documents the determinants of real oil price in the global market based on
SVAR model embedding transitory and permanent shocks on oil demand and supply as
well as speculative disturbances. We find evidence of significant differences in the
propagation mechanisms of transitory versus permanent shocks, pointing to the
importance of disentangling their distinct effects. Permanent supply disruptions turn out to
be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements during the most recent decades, while
speculative shocks became less influential.
We apply a range of models to the U.K. data to obtain estimates of the output gap. A structural VAR with an appropriate identification strategy provides improved estimates of output gap with better real time properties and lower sensitivity to temporary shocks than the usual filtering techniques. It also produces smaller out-of-sample forecast errors for inflation. At the same time, however, our results suggest caution in basing policy decisions on output gap estimates.
This paper studies the macroeconomic effect and underlying firm-level transmission channels of a reduction in business entry costs. We provide novel evidence on the response of firms' entry, exit, and employment decisions. To do so, we use as a natural experiment a reform in Portugal that reduced entry time and costs. Using the staggered implementation of the policy across the Portuguese municipalities, we find that the reform increased local entry and employment by, respectively, 25% and 4.8% per year in its first four years of implementation. Moreover, around 60% of the increase in employment came from incumbent firms expanding their size, with most of the rise occurring among the most productive firms. Standard models of firm dynamics, which assume a constant elasticity of substitution, are inconsistent with the expansionary and heterogeneous response across incumbent firms. We show that in a model with heterogeneous firms and variable markups the most productive firms face a lower demand elasticity and expand their employment in response to increased entry.
We study the impact of bank credit on firm productivity. We exploit a matched firm-bank
database covering all the credit relationships of Italian corporations, together with a natural
experiment, to measure idiosyncratic supply-side shocks to credit availability and to estimate
a production model augmented with financial frictions. We find that a contraction in credit
supply causes a reduction of firm TFP growth and also harms IT-adoption, innovation,
exporting, and adoption of superior management practices, while a credit expansion has
limited impact. Quantitatively, the credit contraction between 2007 and 2009 accounts for
about a quarter of observed the decline in TFP.
This paper considers the problem of jointly decomposing a set of time series variables
into cyclical and trend components, subject to sets of stochastic linear restrictions
among these cyclical and trend components. We derive a closed form solution to an
ordinary problem featuring homogeneous penalty term difference orders and static
restrictions, as well as to a generalized problem featuring heterogeneous penalty term
difference orders and dynamic restrictions. We use our Generalized Multivariate Linear
Filter to jointly estimate potential output, the natural rate of unemployment and the
natural rate of interest, conditional on selected equilibrium conditions from a calibrated
New Keynesian model.
Zidong An, João Tovar Jalles, and Mr. Prakash Loungani
We describe the evolution of forecasts in the run-up to recessions. The GDP forecasts cover 63 countries for the years 1992 to 2014. The main finding is that, while forecasters are generally aware that recession years will be different from other years, they miss the magnitude of the recession by a wide margin until the year is almost over. Forecasts during non-recession years are revised slowly; in recession years, the pace of revision picks up but not sufficiently to avoid large forecast errors. Our second finding is that forecasts of the private sector and the official sector are virtually identical; thus, both are equally good at missing recessions. Strong booms are also missed, providing suggestive evidence for Nordhaus’ (1987) view that behavioral factors—the reluctance to absorb either good or bad news—play a role in the evolution of forecasts.
This paper develops a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model with a
financial accelerator which captures key features of low-income countries (LICs). The
predominance of supply shocks in LICs poses distinct challenges for policymakers, given the
negative correlation between inflation and the output gap in the case of supply shocks. Our
results suggest that: (1) in the face of a supply-side shock, the most desirable interest rate rule
involves simply targeting current inflation and smoothing the policy interest rate; and (2)
ignoring financial frictions when evaluating policy rules can be particularly problematic in
LICs, where financial frictions loom especially large.
The effect that the recent decline in the price of oil has had on growth is far from clear, with
many observers at odds to explain why it does not seem to have provided a significant boost
to the world economy. This paper aims to address this puzzle by providing a systematic
analysis of the effect of oil price shocks on growth for 72 countries comprising 92.8% of world
GDP. We find that, on net, shocks driving the oil price in 2015 shaved off 0.2 percentage points
of growth for the median country in our sample, and 0.17 percentage points in GDP-weighted
terms. While increases in oil supply and shocks to oil-specific demand actually boosted growth
in 2015 (by about 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points, respectively), weak global demand more than
offset these gains, reducing growth by 0.8 percentage points. Counterfactual simulations for
the 72 countries in our sample underscore the importance of diversification, rather than low
levels of openness, in shielding against negative shocks to the world economy.