The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
Zineddine Alla, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mr. Atish R. Ghosh
This paper analyzes the use of unconventional policy instruments in New Keynesian setups in which the ‘divine coincidence’ breaks down. The paper discusses the role of a second instrument and its coordination with conventional interest rate policy, and presents theoretical results on equilibrium determinacy, the inflation bias, the stabilization bias, and the optimal central banker’s preferences when both instruments are available. We show that the use of an unconventional instrument can help reduce the zone of equilibrium indeterminacy and the volatility of the economy. However, in some circumstances, committing not to use the second instrument may be welfare improving (a result akin to Rogoff (1985a) example of counterproductive coordination). We further show that the optimal central banker should be both aggressive against inflation, and interventionist in using the unconventional policy instrument. As long as price setting depends on expectations about the future, there are gains from establishing credibility by using any instrument that affects these expectations.
This paper examines how durable goods and financial frictions shape the business cycle of a small open economy subject to shocks to trend and transitory shocks. In the data, nondurable consumption is not as volatile as income for both developed and emerging market economies. The simulation of the model implies that shocks to trend play a less important role than previously documented. Financial frictions improve the ability of the model to match some key business cycle properties of emerging economies. A countercyclical borrowing premium interacts with the nature of durable goods delivering highly volatile consumption and very countercyclical net exports.
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.
This paper surveys dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models with financial frictions in use by central banks and discusses priorities for future development of such models for the purpose of monetary and financial stability analysis. It highlights the need to develop macrofinancial models which allow analysis of the macroeconomic effects of macroprudential policy tools and to evaluate elements of the Basel III reforms as a priority. The paper also reviews the main approaches to introducing financial frictions into general equilibrium models.
This paper estimates a New Keynesian DSGE model with an explicit financial intermediary sector. Having measures of financial stress, such as the spread between lending and borrowing, enables the model to capture the impact of the financial crisis in a more direct and efficient way. The model fits US post-war macroeconomic data well, and shows that financial shocks play a greater role in explaining the volatility of macroeconomic variables than marginal efficiency of investment (MEI) shocks.
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.
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.