The consensus among central bankers is that higher inflation expectations can drive up inflation today, requiring tighter policy. We assess this by devising a novel method for identifying shocks to inflation expectations, estimating a semi-structural VAR where an expectation shock is identified as that which causes measured expectations to diverge from rationality. Using data for the United States, we find that a positive inflation expectations shock is deflationary and contractionary: inflation, output, and interest rates all fall. These results are inconsistent with the standard New Keynesian model, which predicts inflation and interest rate hikes. We discuss possible resolutions to this new puzzle.
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.
Luis Franjo, Nathalie Pouokam, and Francesco Turino
In this paper we build a model of occupational choice with informal production and progressive income taxation. We calibrate the model to the Brazilian economy to evaluate the impact of removing financial frictions on informality. We find that financial deepening leads to a drop in the size of the informal sector (from 37 percent to 22 percent of official GDP), to an increase in measured TFP (by 4 percent), to an increase in official GDP (by 27 percent), to a decrease in tax evasion (by 17 percent) and to an increase in fiscal revenues (by 15 percent). When assessing the response of this policy at different levels of financial development, we find a non-linear relationship between the credit-to-GDP ratio on the one hand, and either the size of the informal economy, or GDP per capita on the other hand. We test these features with cross-country data and find evidence in favor of both types of non-linearity. We also investigate changes in the income tax progressitivity as an alternative policy and find it to be more effective in countries with a medium to high level of financial markets development.
Guyana’s residential real estate prices have been rising, particularly in the capital city Georgetown, following the discovery of oil in 2015. In line with the growing demand for housing, commercial banks’ housing loans have increased, prompting higher household debt. This paper presents two analyses which suggest that housing prices in Georgetown and banks’ lending to the housing sector appear to be in their early stages of growth. However, given the data limitations and caveats that underpin the analyses, the findings could also indicate early signals of possible risks. Further data collection would support surveillance and deeper studies. At the same time, enhancing prudential measures would help safeguard financial and macroeconomic stability. These include strengthening the monitoring of the housing market, bank lending practices and household debt, as well as fortifying the macroprudential framework, including with more effective toolkits for early intervention.
The form of bounded rationality characterizing the representative agent is key in the choice of the optimal monetary policy regime. While inflation targeting prevails for myopia that distorts agents' inflation expectations, price level targeting emerges as the optimal policy under myopia regarding the output gap, revenue, or interest rate. To the extent that bygones are not bygones under price level targeting, rational inflation expectations is a minimal condition for optimality in a behavioral world. Instrument rules implementation of this optimal policy is shown to be infeasible, questioning the ability of simple rules à la Taylor (1993) to assist the conduct of monetary policy. Bounded rationality is not necessarily associated with welfare losses.
Benjamin Carton, Emilio Fernández Corugedo, and Mr. Benjamin L Hunt
This paper uses a multi-region, forward-looking, DSGE model to estimate the macroeconomic impact of a tax reform that replaces a corporate income tax (CIT) with a destination-based cash-flow tax (DBCFT). Two key channels are at play. The first channel is the shift from an income tax to a cash-flow tax. This channel induces the corporate sector to invest more, boosting long-run potential output, GDP and consumption, but crowding out consumption in the short run as households save to build up the capital stock. The second channel is the shift from a taxable base that comprises domestic and foreign revenues, to one where only domestic revenues enter. This leads to an appreciation of the currency to offset the competitiveness boost afforded by the tax and maintain domestic investment-saving equilibrium. The paper demonstrates that spillover effects from the tax reform are positive in the long run as other countries’ exports benefit from additional investment in the country undertaking the reform and other countries’ domestic demand benefits from improved terms of trade. The paper also shows that there are substantial benefits when all countries undertake the reform. Finally, the paper demonstrates that in the presence of financial frictions, corporate debt declines under the tax reform as firms are no longer able to deduct interest expenses from their profits. In this case, the tax shifting results in an increase in the corporate risk premia, a near-term decline in output, and a smaller long-run increase in GDP.