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.
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.
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 develops a model featuring both a macroeconomic and a financial friction that
speaks to the interaction between monetary and macro-prudential policies. There are two main
results. First, real interest rate rigidities in a monopolistic banking system have an asymmetric
impact on financial stability: they increase the probability of a financial crisis (relative to the
case of flexible interest rate) in response to contractionary shocks to the economy, while they
act as automatic macro-prudential stabilizers in response to expansionary shocks. Second, when
the interest rate is the only available policy instrument, a monetary authority subject to the same
constraints as private agents cannot always achieve a (constrained) efficient allocation and faces
a trade-off between macroeconomic and financial stability in response to contractionary shocks.
An implication of our analysis is that the weak link in the U.S. policy framework in the run up
to the Global Recession was not excessively lax monetary policy after 2002, but rather the
absence of an effective regulatory framework aimed at preserving financial stability.
We develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with financial frictions on both financial intermediaries and goods-producing firms. In this context, due to high leverage of financial intermediaries, balance sheet disruptions in the financial sector are particularly detrimental for aggregate output. We show that the welfare gains from recapitalizing the financial sector in response to large but rare net worth losses are as large as those from eliminating business cycle fluctuations. We also find that these gains are increasing in the size of the net worth loss, are larger when recapitalization funds are raised from the household rather than the real sector, and may increase with a reduction in financial intermediaries idiosyncratic risk.