Delegates, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Per Jacobsson Foundation, to welcome you to this Per Jacobsson Foundation Lecture. Over the past 40 years or so, this lecture has become a fixture of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and we have been privileged to have a very distinguished range of speakers. Per Jacobsson, as many of you know, was the third Managing Director of the IMF and, prior to that, the Chief Economist of the BIS. He was a very distinguished member of a long line of distinguished Managing Directors.
Before I hand over to the Chairman of the Per Jacobsson Foundation, I would just like to say that it is a great privilege to be here at Zurich University in this splendid auditorium. This room has been the venue for many renowned speakers in the past. There is a plaque here which explains that on the 19th of September, 1946, Sir Winston Churchill spoke in this room. In March, in Fulton, Missouri, he had given his famous Iron Curtain speech. Here, in September, he spoke on the theme “Let Europe Arise.” Much has happened since then, although that sort of theme has maybe come back a little bit in terms of relevance to the current economic conjuncture.
The Per Jacobsson Lectures are available on the Internet at www.perjacobsson.org, which also contains further information on the Foundation. Copies of the Per Jacobsson Lectures may be acquired without charge from the Secretary. Unless otherwise indicated, the lectures were delivered in Washington, D.C.
Jean-Claude Trichet is a former President of the European Central Bank, a post that he held from 2003 to 2011. He is currently chairman of the Group of Thirty (a position he has held since 2011) and of the Board of Directors of the Bruegel Institute (since 2012). He is also a member of the Institut de France (Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques).
Since the grave disruption of the subprime market at the start of the global financial crisis triggered major turbulences in the functioning of money markets in all large advanced economies, central bankers have experienced extraordinarily demanding and difficult times, characterized by a succession of shocks unseen, in the advanced economies, since World War II. Given the structurally very different economies that central banks were dealing with, one could have expected that the shock of the crisis would have accentuated their differences and given rise to an even more diverse setof central bank policies, conceptual references, and measures in a selfish, inward-looking mode. Instead, however, a phenomenon of “practical and conceptual rapprochement” took place between central banks, amidst the economic and financial turmoil, with the closest central bank cooperation ever, as symbolically illustrated by the coordinated decrease of interest rates in October 2008. The crisis also started or accelerated a multidimensional process of convergence of key elements of monetary policy thinking and policymaking—“conceptual convergence”—that is far from being achieved, but calls for great attention from both academia and policymakers. This Per Jacobsson Lecture concentrates on this convergence process, reflecting as well on some theoretical and practical issues that are associated with unconventional monetary policy liquidity and quantitative measures and the forward guidance generalization, themselves part of the conceptual convergence phenomenon.