In their review of Riksbank monetary policy, Goodfriend and King make a big point of the minority (Karolina Ekholm and me) having voted for policy rates only 0.25 percentage point below the majority and use that to argue that the rate hikes 2010-2011 were “broadly accepted by all members of Executive Board.” But they fail to report that the monetary policy stance, appropriately measured, that the minority voted for was substantially more expansionary than the majority’s (not to speak of that it was only a first step of several needed in a move toward a better monetary policy). They thus fail to report the position of the minority correctly. For instance, in September 2011, the minority voted for a policy stance equivalent to a repo rate 1.5 percentage point lower the next 4 quarters than the majority’s stance. Continue reading
Marvin Goodfriend and Mervyn King presented their review of the Riksbank’s monetary policy 2010-2015 on January 19. They provide some severe and justified criticism of the majority’s policy, but they unfortunately start their evaluation by making two serious mistakes, which are discussed in this post. Continue reading
“Cost-Benefit Analysis of Leaning Against the Wind : Are Costs Larger Also with Less Effective Macroprudential Policy?” IMF Working Paper WP/16/3, January 11, 2016.
“Leaning against the wind” (LAW) with a higher monetary policy interest rate may have benefits in terms of lower real debt growth and associated lower probability of a financial crisis but has costs in terms of higher unemployment and lower inflation, importantly including a higher cost of a crisis when the economy is weaker. For existing empirical estimates, costs exceed benefits by a substantial margin, even if monetary policy is nonneutral and permanently affects real debt. Somewhat surprisingly, less effective macroprudential policy, and generally a credit boom, with resulting higher probability, severity, or duration of a crisis, increases costs of LAW more than benefits, thus further strengthening the strong case against LAW.
The text is now available of the discussion of of “Inflation targeting does not anchor inflation expectations: Evidence from firms in New Zeland” by Saten Kumar, Hassan Afrouzi, Olivier Coibion, and Yuriy Gorodnichenko at the Fall 2015 Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, Washington, DC, September 10-11, 2015.
Panel discussion, “Optimal Design for Monetary Policy in the Post Crisis Period” (slides), at the conference “Monetary Policy Implementation and Transmission in the Post-Crisis Period,” Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, November 12-13, 2015.
Excel sheet used in slide 5 for the simple example of a cost-benefit analys of leaning against the wind.
Discussion (slides) of Adair Turner, “The Case for Monetary Finance – An Essentially Political Issue,” at the 16th IMF Annual Research Conference, “Unconventional Monetary and Exchange Rate Polices,” November 5-6, 2015, IMF, Washington, DC.
Video (my discussion starts 25 minutes into the session).
A more rigorous and analytical treatment of the issue is available in this paper by Willem Buiter.
“Monetary policy and macroprudential policy: Different and separate,” paper (revised November 2015) and slides presented at the conference “Macroprudential monetary policy,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s 59th Economic Conference, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, October 2-3, 2015.
Excel sheet used in slide 21 for the simple example of a cost-benefit analys of leaning against.
A second discussion (slides) of the paper “Financial Stability and Optimal Interest-Rate Policy” by Andrea Ajello, Thomas Laubach, David López-Salido, and Taisuke Nakata, Federal Reserve Board, at the conference “Monetary Policy Lessons from the Financial Crisis,” Swiss National Bank Research Conference, September 24-26, 2015.
A previous (and different) discussion of this paper is here.
Monetary policy should stick to its core mandate of price stability, and should deviate from its traditional role only if the benefits to the economy outweigh the costs, according to a new study from the International Monetary Fund, “Monetary Policy and Financial Stability.”
The question is whether monetary policy should be altered to contain financial stability risks. Should it lend a hand by temporarily raising interest rates more than warranted by price and output stability objectives?
Based on our current knowledge, and in present circumstances, the answer is generally no.
Discussion (text, slides) of “Inflation targeting does not anchor inflation expectations: Evidence from firms in New Zeland” by Saten Kumar, Hassan Afrouzi, Olivier Coibion, and Yuriy Gorodnichenko at the Fall 2015 Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, Washington, DC, September 10-11, 2015.
Previous version presented at the Bank of England-Hong Kong Monetary Authority-International Monetary Fund conference on Monetary, Financial and Prudential Policy Interactions in the Post-Crisis World held at Bank of England, London, June 16-17, 2015.
An interview of me by IMF Survey.
- Monetary policy is not suitable for managing housing booms and rising household debt
- Not all housing booms pose a problem
- Identifying problem cases requires deep and complex analysis
“A simple cost-benefit analysis of using monetary policy for financial-stability purposes,” in Blanchard, Olivier J., Raghuram Rajan, Kenneth S. Rogoff, and Lawrence H. Summers, eds., Progress and Confusion: The State of Macroeconomic Policy, MIT Press, forthcoming.
Contribution to the conference Rethinking Macro Policy III: Progress or Confusion?, Washington, DC, April 15-16, 2015.