Inflation Dynamics During the Financial Crisis in Europe: Cross-sectional Identification of Long-run Inflation Expectations
IWH Discussion Papers,
We investigate drivers of Euro area inflation dynamics using a panel of regional Phillips curves and identify long-run inflation expectations by exploiting the crosssectional dimension of the data. Our approach simultaneously allows for the inclusion of country-specific inflation and unemployment-gaps, as well as time-varying parameters. Our preferred panel specification outperforms various aggregate, uni- and multivariate unobserved component models in terms of forecast accuracy. We find that declining long-run trend inflation expectations and rising inflation persistence indicate an altered risk of inflation expectations de-anchoring. Lower trend inflation, and persistently negative unemployment-gaps, a slightly increasing Phillips curve slope and the downward pressure of low oil prices mainly explain the low inflation rate during the recent years.
Evidence on the Effects of Inflation on Price Dispersion under Indexation
Distortionary effects of inflation on relative prices are the main argument for inflation stabilization in macro models with sticky prices. Under indexation of non-optimized prices, those models imply a nonlinear and dynamic impact of inflation on the cross-sectional price dispersion (relative price or inflation variability, RPV). Using US sectoral price data, we estimate such a relationship between inflation and RPV, also taking into account the endogeneity of inflation by using two- and three-stage least-squares and GMM techniques, which turns out to be relevant. We find an effect of (expected) inflation on RPV, and our results indicate that average (“trend”) inflation is important for the RPV-inflation relationship. Lagged inflation matters for indexation in the CPI data, but is not important empirically in the PPI data.
Evidence on the effects of inflation on price dispersion under indexation
IMK Working Paper, No. 12/2008,
Distortionary effects of inflation on relative prices are the main argument for inflation stabilization in macro models with sticky prices. Under indexation of non-optimized prices those models imply a nonlinear and dynamic impact of inflation on the cross-sectional price dispersion (relative-price variability, RPV). Using US sectoral prices we estimate (a generalized form of) the theoretical relationship between inflation and RPV. We confirm the impact of inflation fluctuations but find hitherto neglected endogeneity biases, and our IV and GMM estimates indicate that average (“trend“) inflation is significant for indexation. Lagged inflation is less important.
The German Upswing Takes a Break
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The world economy continues to expand healthily, but risks have increased during summer. The crisis of the housing sector in the US has deepened: A revaluation of mortgage backed assets has triggered turbulences on global financial markets. The institutes expect that financial markets will calm down during the coming months, but that the downswing in the US will slow the pace of the world economy. The economy in the euro area will, in addition, be dampened by the appreciation of the euro. The German economy is, in spite of a restrictive fiscal policy, in a robust upswing. Because wage setting and inflation continues to be moderate, there will be no need for a restrictive monetary policy. Thus the German economy will, due to slower demand from the US and higher costs of financing, lose momentum, but chances are good that the upswing will only take a break. In the coming year private consumption is expected to be the main contributor to growth, because wage incomes will expand strongly. Unemployment will continue to shrink, albeit at a smaller rate than during 2007. Fiscal policy will no longer be restrictive. Economic policy has improved the conditions for growth in Germany; there is, however, still much to do. Public finances have to be consolidated further, but at the same time, public investment has to be strengthened. This can be achieved if public consumptive expenditure growth is limited. The institutes suggest to increase public expenditure by 2% per annum over the cycle in nominal terms; this is, by less than by the trend growth rate of nominal GDP.
The institutes advise against a reversal of the recent labour market reforms. Instead, incentives for taking up jobs should be increased further.
Inflation and the Divergence of Relative Prices: Evidence from a Cointegration Analysis
AStA - Advances in Statistical Analysis,
The relation between inflation and RPV plays a prominent role in explaining the costs of inflation. This study investigates whether the CPI subcategories drift apart more over a period of high inflation rates than during one of low inflation. The wider dispersion of the subcategories is reflected in an increasing number of common stochastic trends in the system of sub price indices. The results for US data as well as for cross-country comparisons indicate that the influence of inflation on the dispersion of relative prices cannot be revealed by counting cointegrating relations. Thus, the number of stochastic trends or cointegrating relations is not a reliable indicator for the distorting effect of inflation on the dispersion of relative prices.