The department of macroeconomics analyses economic fluctuations of important economic indicators as GDP, employment, and interest rates in the short and medium horizon, the impact of economic policy on these, and the institutional framework that determines long term growth and the business cycle. Founded on this research, the department offers policy advice.
The department covers a wide range of macroeconomic issues. The research is focused on development, implementation and application of quantitative macroeconomic models and the analysis of the interaction between the financial markets and the real economy.
Energy Markets and Global Economic Conditions
in: Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming
We evaluate alternative indicators of global economic activity and other market funda-mentals in terms of their usefulness for forecasting real oil prices and global petroleum consumption. World industrial production is one of the most useful indicators. However, by combining measures from several different sources we can do even better. Our analysis results in a new index of global economic conditions and measures for assessing future energy demand and oil price pressures. We illustrate their usefulness for quantifying the main factors behind the severe contraction of the global economy and the price risks faced by shale oil producers in early 2020.
The Macroeconomics of Epidemics
in: Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming
We extend the canonical epidemiology model to study the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics. Our model implies that people cut back on consumption and work to reduce the chances of being infected. These decisions reduce the severity of the epidemic but exacerbate the size of the associated recession. The competitive equilibrium is not socially optimal because infected people do not fully internalize the effect of their economic decisions on the spread of the virus. In our benchmark model, the best simple containment policy increases the severity of the recession but saves roughly half a million lives in the United States.
Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD
in: Journal of International Money and Finance, forthcoming
In this paper, we use local projections to investigate the impact of consolidation shocks on GDP growth, conditional on the fragility of government finances. Based on a database of fiscal plans in OECD countries, we show that spending shocks are less detrimental than tax-based consolidation. In times of fiscal fragility, our results indicate strongly that governments should consolidate through surprise policy changes rather than announcements of consolidation at a later horizon.
Inflation Puzzles, the Phillips Curve and Output Expectations: New Perspectives from the Euro Zone
in: Empirica, forthcoming
Confidence in the Phillips Curve (PC) as predictor of inflation developments along the business cycle has been shaken by recent “inflation puzzles” in advanced countries, such as the “missing disinflation” in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the “missing inflation” in the years of recovery, to which the Euro-Zone “excess deflation” during the post-crisis depression may be added. This paper proposes a newly specified Phillips Curve model, in which expected inflation, instead of being treated as an exogenous explanatory variable of actual inflation, is endogenized. The idea is simply that if the PC is used to foresee inflation, then its expectational component should in some way be the result of agents using the PC itself. As a consequence, the truly independent explanatory variables of inflation turn out to be the output gaps and the related forecast errors by agents, with notable empirical consequences. The model is tested with the Euro-Zone data 1999–2019 showing that it may provide a consistent explanation of the “inflation puzzles” by disentangling the structural component from the expectational effects of the PC.
Monetary Policy through Exchange Rate Pegs: The Removal of the Swiss Franc‐Euro Floor and Stock Price Reactions
in: International Review of Finance, forthcoming
The Swiss National Bank abolished the exchange rate floor versus the Euro in January 2015. Using a synthetic matching framework, we analyze the impact of this unexpected (and therefore exogenous) policy change on the stock market. The results reveal a significant level shift (decline) in asset prices following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. As a novel finding in the literature, we document that the exchange‐rate elasticity of Swiss asset prices is around −0.75. Differentiating between sectors of the Swiss economy, we find that the industrial, financial and consumer goods sectors are most strongly affected by the abolition of the minimum exchange rate.
Conditional Macroeconomic Forecasts: Disagreement, Revisions and Forecast Errors
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 7, 2021
Using data from the European Central Bank‘s Survey of Professional Forecasters, we analyse the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the heterogeneity, updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are related to assumptions about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. Our findings indicate that inflation forecasts are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are used primarily to predict output growth and unemployment. Expectations about exchange rates and wage growth also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than oil prices and interest rates. We show that survey participants can considerably improve forecast accuracy for macroeconomic outcomes by reducing prediction errors for external conditions. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the expectation formation process of experts.
Disentangling Covid-19, Economic Mobility, and Containment Policy Shocks
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2021
We study the dynamic impact of Covid-19, economic mobility, and containment policy shocks. We use Bayesian panel structural vector autoregressions with daily data for 44 countries, identified through sign and zero restrictions. Incidence and mobility shocks raise cases and deaths significantly for two months. Restrictive policy shocks lower mobility immediately, cases after one week, and deaths after three weeks. Non-pharmaceutical interventions explain half of the variation in mobility, cases, and deaths worldwide. These flattened the pandemic curve, while deepening the global mobility recession. The policy tradeoff is 1 p.p. less mobility per day for 9% fewer deaths after two months.
Financial Technologies and the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy Transmission
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 26, 2020
This study investigates whether and how financial technologies (FinTech) influence the effectiveness of monetary policy transmission. We use an interacted panel vector autoregression model to explore how the effects of monetary policy shocks change with regional-level FinTech adoption. Results indicate that FinTech adoption generally mitigates monetary policy transmission to real GDP, consumer prices, bank loans, and housing prices. A subcategorical analysis shows that the muted transmission is the most pronounced in the adoption of FinTech payment and credit, compared to that of insurance. The regulatory arbitrage and competition between FinTech and banks are the possible mechanisms leading a mitigated monetary policy transmission.
On the International Dissemination of Technology News Shocks
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 25, 2020
This paper investigates the propagation of technology news shocks within and across industrialised economies. We construct quarterly utilisation-adjusted total factor productivity (TFP) for thirteen OECD countries. Based on country-specific structural vector autoregressions (VARs), we document that (i) the identified technology news shocks induce a quite homogeneous response pattern of key macroeconomic variables in each country; and (ii) the identified technology news shock processes display a significant degree of correlation across several countries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that the US are only one of many different sources of technological innovations diffusing across advanced economies. Technology news propagate through the endogenous reaction of monetary policy and via trade-related variables. That is, our results imply that financial markets and trade are key channels for the dissemination of technology.
Surges and Instability: The Maturity Shortening Channel
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 23, 2020
Capital inflow surges destabilise the economy through a maturity shortening mechanism. The underlying reason is that firms tend to make their debt redeemable on demand in order to accommodate the potential liquidity needs of global investors, which makes international borrowing endogenously fragile. Based on a theoretical model and empirical evidence at both firm level and macro level, our main findings are threefold. First, corporate debt maturity shortens substantially during surges, especially for firms with foreign bank relationships. Second, surges change the shape of the interest rate term structure and lead to a more flattened yield curve. Third, the probability of a crisis following surges with a flattened yield curve is significantly larger than following surges without one. Our work suggests that debt maturity is key to understanding the consequences of capital inflow bonanzas.