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.
Employing 20 experts, the department is able to cover 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.
Sign Restrictions, Structural Vector Autoregressions, and Useful Prior Information
in: Econometrica, forthcoming
This paper makes the following original contributions to the literature. (i) We develop a simpler analytical characterization and numerical algorithm for Bayesian inference in structural vector autoregressions (VARs) that can be used for models that are overidentified, just‐identified, or underidentified. (ii) We analyze the asymptotic properties of Bayesian inference and show that in the underidentified case, the asymptotic posterior distribution of contemporaneous coefficients in an n‐variable VAR is confined to the set of values that orthogonalize the population variance–covariance matrix of ordinary least squares residuals, with the height of the posterior proportional to the height of the prior at any point within that set. For example, in a bivariate VAR for supply and demand identified solely by sign restrictions, if the population correlation between the VAR residuals is positive, then even if one has available an infinite sample of data, any inference about the demand elasticity is coming exclusively from the prior distribution. (iii) We provide analytical characterizations of the informative prior distributions for impulse‐response functions that are implicit in the traditional sign‐restriction approach to VARs, and we note, as a special case of result (ii), that the influence of these priors does not vanish asymptotically. (iv) We illustrate how Bayesian inference with informative priors can be both a strict generalization and an unambiguous improvement over frequentist inference in just‐identified models. (v) We propose that researchers need to explicitly acknowledge and defend the role of prior beliefs in influencing structural conclusions and we illustrate how this could be done using a simple model of the U.S. labor market.
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises?
in: Journal of Financial Stability, forthcomingread publication
Banks’ Funding Stress, Lending Supply and Consumption Expenditure
in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, forthcoming
We employ a unique identification strategy linking survey data on household consumption expenditure to bank-level data to estimate the effects of bank funding stress on consumer credit and consumption expenditures. We show that households whose banks were more exposed to funding shocks report lower levels of non-mortgage liabilities. This, however, only translates into lower levels of consumption for low income households. Hence, adverse credit supply shocks are associated with significant heterogeneous effects.
Switching to Good Policy? The Case of Central and Eastern European Inflation Targeters
in: Macroeconomic Dynamics, forthcoming
The paper analyzes how actual monetary policy changed following the official adoption of inflation targeting in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland and how it affected the volatilities of important macroeconomic variables in the years thereafter. To disentangle the effects of the policy shift from exogenous changes in the volatilities of these variables, a Markov-switching dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is estimated that allows for regime switches in the policy parameters and the volatilities of shocks hitting the economies. Whereas estimation results reveal periods of high and low volatility for all three economies, the presence of different policy regimes is supported by the underlying data for the Czech Republic and Poland, only. In both economies, monetary policy switched from weak and unsystematic to strong and systematic responses to inflation dynamics. Simulation results suggest that the policy shifts of both central banks successfully reduced inflation volatility in the following years. The observed reduction in output volatility, on the other hand, is attributed more to a reduction in the size of external shocks.
The Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model – The Case of the German Stimulus Packages During the Great Recession
in: Macroeconomic Dynamics, forthcoming
In this paper, we analyze the effects of the stimulus packages adopted by the German government during the Great Recession. We employ a standard medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model extended by non-optimizing households and a detailed fiscal sector. In particular, the dynamics of spending and revenue variables are modeled as feedback rules with respect to the cyclical components of output, hours worked and private investment. Based on the estimated rules, fiscal shocks are identified. According to the results, fiscal policy, in particular public consumption, investment, and transfers prevented a sharper and prolonged decline of German output at the beginning of the Great Recession, suggesting a timely response of fiscal policy. The overall effects, however, are small when compared to other domestic and international shocks that contributed to the economic downturn. Our overall findings are not sensitive to considering fiscal foresight.
Flight from Safety: How a Change to the Deposit Insurance Limit Affects Households‘ Portfolio Allocation
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2019
We study how an increase to the deposit insurance limit affects households‘ portfolio allocation by exogenously reducing uninsured deposit balances. Using unique data that identifies insured versus uninsured deposits, along with detailed information on Canadian households‘ portfolio holdings, we show that households respond by drawing down deposits and shifting towards mutual funds and stocks. These outflows amount to 2.8% of outstanding bank deposits. The empirical evidence, consistent with a standard portfolio choice model that is modified to accommodate uninsured deposits, indicates that more generous deposit insurance coverage results in nontrivial adjustments to household portfolios.
How Forecast Accuracy Depends on Conditioning Assumptions
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2019
This paper examines the extent to which errors in economic forecasts are driven by initial assumptions that prove to be incorrect ex post. Therefore, we construct a new data set comprising an unbalanced panel of annual forecasts from different institutions forecasting German GDP and the underlying assumptions. We explicitly control for different forecast horizons to proxy the information available at the release date. Over 75% of squared errors of the GDP forecast comove with the squared errors in their underlying assumptions. The root mean squared forecast error for GDP in our regression sample of 1.52% could be reduced to 1.13% by setting all assumption errors to zero. This implies that the accuracy of the assumptions is of great importance and that forecasters should reveal the framework of their assumptions in order to obtain useful policy recommendations based on economic forecasts.
Power Generation and Structural Change: Quantifying Economic Effects of the Coal Phase-out in Germany
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 16, 2019
In the fight against global warming, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a major objective. In particular, a decrease in electricity generation by coal could contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. Using a multi-region dynamic general equilibrium model, this paper studies potential economic consequences of a coal phase-out in Germany. Different regional phase-out scenarios are simulated with varying timing structures. We find that a politically induced coal phase-out would lead to an increase in the national unemployment rate by about 0.10 percentage points from 2020 to 2040, depending on the specific scenario. The effect on regional unemployment rates varies between 0.18 to 1.07 percentage points in the lignite regions. However, a faster coal phase-out can lead to a faster recovery. The coal phase-out leads to migration from German lignite regions to German non-lignite regions and reduces the labour force in the lignite regions by 10,000 people by 2040.
What Does Peer-to-Peer Lending Evidence Say About the Risk-taking Channel of Monetary Policy?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2019
This paper uses loan application-level data from a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform to study the risk-taking channel of monetary policy. By employing a direct ex-ante measure of risk-taking and estimating the simultaneous equations of loan approval and loan amount, we are the first to provide quantitative evidence of the impact of monetary policy on the risk-taking of nonbank financial institution. We find that the search-for-yield is the main workhorse of the risk-taking effect, while we do not observe consistent findings of risk-shifting from the liquidity change. Monetary policy easing is associated with a higher probability of granting loans to risky borrowers and a greater riskiness of credit allocation, but these changes do not necessarily relate to a larger loan amount on average.
Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2019
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.