Yearly Archives: 2019

Macroprudential Policy and Household Debt: What is Wrong with Swedish Macroprudential Policy?

Macroprudential Policy and Household Debt: What is Wrong with Swedish Macroprudential policy?”, revised March 2020, Nordic Economic Policy Review 2020, forthcoming. Paper. Online appendix


Much is right with Swedish macroprudential policy. But regarding risks associated with household debt, the policy does not pass a cost-benefit test. The substantial credit tightening that Finansinspektionen (FI, the Swedish FSA) has achieved – through amortization requirements and more indirect ways – has no demonstrable benefits but substantial costs. The FI, and international organizations, use a flawed theoretical framework for assessing macroeconomic risks from household debt. The tightening was undertaken for mistaken reasons. Several reforms are required for a better-functioning mortgage market. A reform of the governance of macroprudential policy – including a decision-making committee and improved accountability – may reduce risks of policy mistakes.

Op-Ed: The Swedish FSA’s amortization requirements lack demonstrable social benefits (English translation)

Op-ed in Dagens Nyheter, November 9, 2019, English translation: The amortization requirements and other credit tightening by Finansinspektionen (FI, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) have large individual and social costs, but according to research they have no demonstrable social benefits. It is irresponsible to push through a credit tightening that fails a cost-benefit analysis, write Robert Boije, Chief Economist, SBAB; Harry Flam, Professor Emeritus, Institute for International Economic Studies; John Hassler, Professor, Institute for International Economic Studies; and Lars E.O. Svensson, Affiliated Professor, Stockholm School of Economics.

Every economic-policy measure should pass a cost-benefit analysis. It should show that the benefits exceed the costs. The FI’s amortization requirements and the other credit tightening that it has achieved fails such an analysis. The credit tightening has obvious, large costs but no demonstrable benefits.
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Almedalen 2019 – Amorteringskraven: Felaktiga grunder, negativa effekter och minskad motståndskraft

“Amorteringskraven: Felaktiga grunder, negativa effekter och minskad motståndskraft”, presentation vid ett seminarium i Almedalen 2 juli 2019. Bilder powerpoint pdf. Video.

Finansinspektionen har de senaste åren infört amorteringskrav och genomdrivit en övrig åtstramning på bolånemarknaden. Detta har skett på felaktiga grunder, har negativa välfärds- och fördelningseffekter och försämrar bolånemarknadens funktionssätt. Syftet har varit att öka bolånetagarnas motståndskraft och minska risken för djupare lågkonjunkturer, men i själva verket minskar amorteringskraven motståndskraften och snarast ökar risken för djupare lågkonjunkturer.

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Replik på DN Debatt: Finansinspektionen drar fel slutsatser

Replik publicerad på DN Debatt 17/6:

Riskerna med hushållens skulder har överdrivits. Utländska erfarenheter beskrivs på ett missvisande sätt. Amorteringskraven har införts på felaktiga grunder. De drabbar nya bolånetagare utan hög inkomst eller förmögenhet, särskilt unga. De minskar också hushållens motståndskraft mot inkomststörningar. Continue reading

Monetary Policy Strategies for the Federal Reserve

“Monetary Policy Strategies for the Federal Reserve,” International Journal of Central Banking 16 (February 2020) 133-193. Paper.

A previous version was prepared for the conference Monetary Policy Strategy, Tools, and Communication Practices—A Fed Listens Event, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, June 4–5, 2019. Video (my presentation starts 3 min 5 sec into the session).


The paper finds that the general monetary policy strategy of “forecast targeting” is more suitable for fulfilling the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability than following a Taylor-type rule. Forecast targeting can be used for any of the more specific strategies of annual-inflation targeting, price-level targeting, temporary price-level targeting, average-inflation targeting, and nominal-GDP targeting. The specific strategies are examined and evaluated according to how well they may fulfill the dual mandate, considering the possibilities of a binding effective lower bound for the federal funds rate and a flatter Phillips curve. Nominal-GDP targeting is equivalent to a single mandate and is found to be inconsistent with the dual mandate. Average-inflation targeting is found to have some advantages over the others.