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Monetary policy and regional house-price appreciation
This paper examines the link between monetary policy and house-price appreciation by exploiting the fact that monetary policy is set at the national level, but has different effects on state-level activity in the United States. This differential impact of monetary policy provides an exogenous source of variation that can be used to assess the effect of monetary policy on state-level housing prices. Policy accommodation equivalent to 100 basis points on an equilibrium real federal funds rate basis raises housing prices by about 2.5 percent over the next two years. However, the estimated effect ...
Norway's approach to monetary policy
The goal of monetary policy as conducted by Norges Bank is to maintain low and stable inflation. The operational target of monetary policy is explicitly defined in a consumer price inflation rate of approximately 2.5 percent over time. Norges Bank sets its interest rate instrument with a view to achieving the inflation target over a two-year horizon, and it will normally tolerate deviations of actual inflation from target that are not in excess of plus or minus 1 percentage point. In general, the direct effects on consumer prices resulting from changes in interest rates, taxes, excise duties, ...
Switzerland's approach to monetary policy
Monetary policy as conducted by the Swiss National Bank is aimed at maintaining price stability in the medium term. Between 1980 and 1999, the Bank used the seasonally adjusted monetary base as monetary target and as indicator. Given the continually distorted indicator value of the monetary base after 1996, the Bank fundamentally reviewed its modus operandi. As of the beginning of 2000, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) considers price stability to be achieved with an annual inflation (CPI) rate of less than 2 percent. The Bank bases its monetary policy decisions on a medium-term (three-year) ...
Wage setting patterns and monetary policy: international evidence
Systematic differences in the timing of wage setting decisions among industrialized countries provide an ideal framework to study the importance of wage rigidity in the transmission of monetary policy. The Japanese Shunto presents the best-known case of bunching in wage setting decisions: From February to May, most firms set wages that remain in place until the following year; wage rigidity, thus, is relatively higher immediately after the Shunto. Similarly, in the United States, a large fraction of firms adjust wages in the last quarter of the calendar year. In contrast, wage agreements in ...
A principal components approach to estimating labor market pressure and its implications for inflation
We build a summary measure of labor market pressure that captures the common movement among a variety of labor market series. Obtained as the labor market series? first principal component, this measure explains a large portion of the variability of the underlying series. For this reason, it is a good summary indicator of labor market pressure. We show that the unemployment rate gap has tracked this summary measure closely over the past 35 years. At times, however, the summary measure and the unemployment rate gap have sent somewhat different signals. In terms of relying on the principal ...
Why the interest in reform?
Do real-time Okun's law errors predict GDP data revisions?
Using U.S. real-time data, we show that changes in the unemployment rate unexplained by Okun's Law have significant predictive power for GDP data revisions. A positive (negative) error in Okun's Law in real time implies that GDP will be later revised to show less (more) growth than initially estimated by the statistical agency. The information in Okun's Law errors about the true state of real economic activity also helps to improve GDP forecasts in the near term. Our findings add a new dimension to the interpretation of real-time Okun's Law errors, as they show that these errors can convey ...
Exchange rates and the prices of manufacturing products imported into the United States
Local-currency prices of foreign products do not usually respond one-for-one to changes in the exchange rate. The extent and pervasiveness of this incomplete "pass-through" of exchange rates to import prices has long been debated. Yet, despite the abundance of empirical research on the relationship between exchange rates and import prices, there is little systematic evidence on the time-series dimension of pass-through that encompasses the most recent years. ; In this article, the author provides some updated estimates of the responsiveness of U.S. import prices to changes in the exchange ...
Rethinking the International Monetary System: an overview
When the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston chose "Rethinking the International Monetary System" as the topic for its 43rd Economic Conference, it was clear that the worst international financial crisis in decades had caused tremors within the economics profession and the policymaking establishment. The miracle countries of Asia had suffered sharp currency devaluation and deep economic downturns, the turmoil had spilled over into Russia and Latin America, and a severe liquidity crisis had briefly threatened banking systems in the advanced countries. Not surprisingly, then, the events of the ...