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Credit restrictions were used as a monetary policy instrument in the Netherlands from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Since these restrictions were aimed at containing money rather than credit growth, their focus was on net credit creation by the financial sector. We document the rationale of these credit restrictions and how their implementation evolved in line with the evolution of the financial system. We study the impact on the balance sheet structure of banks and other financial institutions. We find that banks mainly responded to credit restrictions by making adjustments to the liability side of their balance sheets, particularly by increasing the proportion of long-term funding. Responses on the asset side were limited, while part of the banking sector even increased lending after the adoption of a restriction. These results suggest that banks and financial institutions responded by switching to long-term funding to meet the restriction and shield their lending business. Arguably, the credit restrictions were therefore still effective in reaching their main goal. Indeed, we do find evidence of a significant effect of credit restrictions on inflation.
Orthodox monetary policy scholarship assumes that central bankers act to maximize the public welfare. If imperfect incentives enter the model, it is on the part of the public. We challenge this assumption. Monetary policymakers are just as prone to incentive problems, which cause them to act according to their own self-interest. Furthermore, the self-interest of policymakers is not always the same thing as the public welfare. The two diverge frequently, in fact. We survey the history of the Federal Reserve and show the numerous ways discretionary central bankers have been compromised. These incentive problems are an inherent feature of discretion. They can only be eliminated by embracing true monetary rules.
We analyze the information problems inherent in discretionary monetary policy. Discretionary central bankers confront immense informational burdens. Some of these are technical problems only, and can in principle be overcome. But there is also a genuine knowledge problem involved in discretionary monetary policy: reacting in real time to changes in the demand for money. This problem is unsolvable. It renders discretionary central banking systematically unlikely to achieve macroeconomic stability. In contrast, rules-based policy does not confront a knowledge problem.
We conclude by situating the theory and practice of monetary policy within liberal political economy more generally. As we have seen, there are significant tensions between existing monetary institutions (discretionary central banking) and liberal ideals. This has been made even clearer by the Federal Reserve’s response to COVID-19. In brief, the Fed is now engaging in not only monetary policy but fiscal policy as well. This represents an immense expansion in its mandate, one that poses serious challenges for general and predictable monetary policy. The way out of this mess is embracing a comparative institutions approach to monetary policy. We cannot be satisfied with technical refinements to existing models and data. We need to explore alternative monetary policy rules, ones that are effective at providing macroeconomic stability while also respecting the requirements of democracy.
In this chapter, we focus on the idea of the rule of law in the classical liberal tradition. The rule of law is a basic jurisprudential norm that undergirds liberal democracies. We show that discretionary central banking is inconsistent with the rule of law. Discretionary central banking fails the test of generality: It benefits special interests, but not the public as a whole. Also, discretionary banking fails the test of predictability: It does not create an environment conducive to reliable public expectations of future policy. For these reasons, it is unlikely that discretionary central banking can be reconciled with self-governance. We reaffirm the imperative of liberal democracy, as well as uncovering monetary institutions that are compatible with liberal democracy. Until we do so, we fail to meet the basic challenge of self-governance.
Contemporary monetary institutions are flawed at a foundational level. The reigning paradigm in monetary policy holds up constrained discretion as the preferred operating framework for central banks. But no matter how smart or well-intentioned are central bankers, discretionary policy contains information and incentive problems that make macroeconomic stability systematically unlikely. Furthermore, central bank discretion implicitly violates the basic jurisprudential norms of liberal democracy. Drawing on a wide body of scholarship, this volume presents a novel argument in favor of embedding monetary institutions into a rule of law framework. The authors argue for general, predictable rules to provide a sturdier foundation for economic growth and prosperity. A rule of law approach to monetary policy would remedy the flaws that resulted in misguided monetary responses to the 2007-8 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the case for true monetary rules is the first step toward creating more stable monetary institutions.
This chapter argues that international monetary stability is an underprovided global public good under the current design of the International Monetary System. It proposes to apply the emerging doctrine of Common Concern of Humankind (Common Concern) as a methodological approach. This chapter starts by exploring the concept of monetary stability at the different levels of governance. It is followed by a description of the doctrine of Common Concern. It continues with an analysis of the three-dimensional approach proposed by this doctrine starting with the duty to cooperate in monetary affairs both from a top-down approach (international level of governance) and a bottom-up approach (central banking cooperation). The chapter continues by examining domestic obligations concerning monetary stability with an emphasis on the special role of the central banks and also by examining some cases of unilateral actions and issues of extraterritoriality in the pursuit of monetary stability. Lastly, it offers some remarks on the most controversial aspect of the doctrine that relates to securing compliance with the obligations that may emerge from an accepted Common Concern of international monetary stability.
Traditionally identified monetary shocks in a structural vector autoregression (SVAR) model typically result in long-lasting effects on output and total factor productivity (TFP). In this paper, I argue that the typical monetary shock has been confounded with the news shock about future technology. I propose and implement a novel SVAR approach that effectively “cleans” the technology component from the traditional Cholesky monetary shock. With the new identification, I find that a monetary shock exerts smaller and less persistent effects on output and the level of measured TFP than a traditionally identified monetary shock. Finally, I show that the SVAR impulse responses can be replicated by augmenting the standard New Keynesian model with a time-varying inflation target and a non-Ricardian fiscal policy regime.
The monetary authority’s choice of operating procedure has significant implications for the role of monetary aggregates and interest rate policy on the business cycle. Using a dynamic general equilibrium model, we show that the type of endogenous monetary regime, together with the interaction between money supply and demand, does well to capture the actual behavior of a monetary economy—the USA. The results suggest that the evolution toward a stricter interest rate-targeting regime renders central bank balance sheet expansions ineffective. In the context of the 2007–2009 Great Recession, a more flexible interest rate-targeting regime would have led to a significant monetary expansion and more rapid economic recovery in the USA.
This chapter provides an overview of Abenomics’ effects on financial markets and the real economy, with a focus on the effect of monetary policy. While many financial and real economic indicators showed success, consumption growth was sluggish. Household-level data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey suggest that this is in part because monetary policy did not have the predicted expansionary effect on household consumption, even for those households expected to benefit most.
This chapter presents an overview of the development of inflation and monetary policy in Israel since the early 2000s. Unlike the discussion in the previous book, which centered on the disinflation process and the transformation of the economic and institutional environment as a result of the Stabilization Program in the mid-1980s (Ben-Bassat, 2001, Section II), the setting of the current chapter is of a large external shock: the 2008 global financial crisis against the background of a relatively stable domestic environment of economic policy — monetary and fiscal — and of inflation. The chapter describes inflation and its characteristics, monetary policy, and the mechanisms of transmission from policy to inflation. It focuses on recent years, those following the financial crisis, which have been typified, in Israel and abroad, by a low-inflation environment in view of very accommodative monetary policies. The last section concludes the chapter and offers some thoughts going forward.
Multiple equilibria arise in standard New Keynesian models when the nominal interest rate is set according to the Taylor rule and constrained by a zero lower bound (ZLB). One of these equilibria is deflationary and referred to as an expectations-driven liquidity trap (ELT) as it arises because of the de-anchoring of inflation expectations. This study demonstrates that a simple tax rule responding to inflation can prevent a liquidity trap from arising without increasing government spending or debt. We analytically investigate the necessary and sufficient conditions to prevent an ELT and show that both the frequency and persistence of ELT episodes affect the extent to which the tax rule must respond to inflation. In brief, the higher the frequency or the longer the persistence of the ELT, the greater the response of the tax rate must be.
This paper has two main goals. The first is to fill a gap in the literature on inductive risk by exploring the relevance of the notion of inductive risk to macroeconomics. The second is to draw some general lessons about inductive risk from the case discussed here. The most important of these lessons is that the notion of inductive risk is no less relevant to the relationship between the proximate and distal goals of policy than it is to the relationship between specific policies and their proximate goals.
Sets out what central banks can and must contribute to the sustainability agenda, especially on climate change, given their existing mandates and objectives. That includes monetary policy, financial stability, prudential regulation, balance sheet-management and even bank notes. Central banks do not need and should not wait for changes to their legal duties, because climate change is a material influence on all their existing responsibilities. Meanwhile, macroeconomic stability is a pre-requisite for the wider sustainability agenda and so there needs to be a continuing priority focus on monetary and financial stability.
I assess a novel rule that was introduced in the UK in 2015. It gave the British government fiscal flexibility whenever GDP growth warranted it. This rule lasted just a year, but it had features worth exploring. I apply solution methods for models with occasionally-binding constraints to assess the demand stabilisation properties of state-contingent fiscal rules. First it is shown that fiscal flexibility can make recessions shallower. Second, it is suggested that GDP growth, rather than measures of the output gap, is a better indicator for triggering fiscal flexibility.
This paper investigates how a combination of monetary and macroprudential policies might affect the dynamics of a small open economy (SOE) with financial frictions under alternative discretionary shocks. Discretionary shocks in productivity and domestic and foreign monetary policies identify the roles of alternative interest rate and reserve requirement rules to stabilize the economy. The model is calibrated for the Brazilian economy. The exchange rate channel of transmission is relevant for foreign but not for domestic shocks. The interest rate rule should target domestic inflation and should not react to the exchange rate. The countercyclical reserve requirements rule, in its turn, should aggressively react to the credit-gap and not include a fixed component. Under both domestic and foreign shocks, the countercyclical effectiveness of the macroprudential policy improves when the degree of openness increases. There is a complementarity between monetary and macroprudential policy rules to stabilize the SOE.
Money and credit are ubiquitous in actual economies, but there is an active theoretical debate on whether they are both necessary if they can both be used in all transactions. Recently, Gu et al. (2016) have shown that money and credit cannot be simultaneously essential and debt limits do not matter for the determination of real allocations in a class of monetary economies. In this paper, we revisit their irrelevance result in a monetary economy based on Lagos and Wright (2005), which exhibits a misallocation of liquidity that is common in search models of money. We show that monetary loans, which naturally require the use of both money and credit, implement Pareto superior allocations in which the size of debt limits matters.
After September 1992, there remained considerable uncertainty about the longer-term possibility of the UK eventually joining the Eurozone, a prospect that few liked, but equally almost no policy-maker wanted to rule out definitively. There thus remained a substantial ambiguity in the question of the UK’s relation to the giant monetary experiment of the European Union. The Bank started to think about exporting its new policy framework, based on an inflation target, as a superior model, also for European monetary management.
This introductory chapter outlines the transformation or modernization of the Bank of England in the twenty years after 1979: how governance and accountability were transformed, and communication was accorded a greater role, as the Bank moved to policy autonomy or operational independence from the UK government. The process amounted to what might be described as an informational revolution. The transformation of macro-economic management may also be considered as part of a broader process of globalization. Central banks everywhere became much more aware of international activities and developments, and policy-makers reflected more on how the UK was affected by what went on beyond its frontiers. There was also a greater legalization: a need for legislation to define what was involved in banking, and how to regulate banking. Finally, the nature and definition of money and of monetary stability became the subject of a political debate.
After September 1992, the Bank was at the forefront of the search for a new policy framework. It pushed the idea of central bank independence, that was heavily supported by academic theory, as well as by the framework established in 1991 at the Treaty of Maastricht. The reform was driven by the new Governor, Eddie George, but also by Chief Economist Mervyn King. The Bank also defined its mission in terms of three core purposes, monetary stability, financial stability, but also the promotion of the efficiency and effectiveness of the UK financial services sector; and reformed its administrative organization – a move that was highly unpopular with its staff. The key to the new policy was an inflation target, established by the government, and implemented through regular meetings of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (at that time Kenneth Clarke) and the Governor of the Bank. These attracted considerable publicity, and were known as the Ken and Eddie show: it was often thought to be an exercise in which a hawkish Governor pressed for interest rate rises, which a doveish and politically sensitive Chancellor resisted.