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Inflation: Stress-Testing the Phillips Curve
The well-known Phillips curve describes inflation as a persistent process that depends on public expectations of future inflation and economic slack, a measure of how stretched the economy?s resources are. The role of each component has changed over time. In particular, maintaining the public?s expectations that the Federal Reserve is committed to an inflation target of 2% has grown in importance over the slack component, in part because realigning expectations is costly to undo. Such considerations are important as the Federal Reserve evaluates its future policy options.
AUTHORS: Nechio, Fernanda; Marti, Chitra; Jordà, Òscar; Tallman, Eric
Corporate Yields and Sovereign Yields
We document that positive association between corporate and sovereign cost of funds borrowed on global capital markets weakens during periods of unusually high sovereign yields, when corporate borrowers are able to issue debt that is priced at lower rates than sovereign debt. This state-dependent sensitivity of corporate yields to sovereign yields has not been previously documented in the literature. We demonstrate that this stylized fact is observed across countries and industries as well as for a given borrower over time and is not explained by a different composition of borrowers issuing debt during periods of high sovereign yields or by the relationship between corporate and sovereign credit ratings. We show that even if we exclude high-yield episodes that accompany financial crises and IMF programs, the sensitivity of corporate yields to sovereign yields is lower when sovereign yields are high. We propose a simple information model that rationalizes our empirical observations: when sovereign yields are high and more volatile, corporate yields are less sensitive to sovereign yields.
AUTHORS: Bevilaqua, Julia; Hale, Galina; Tallman, Eric
The Euro Crisis in the Mirror of the EMS: How Tying Odysseus to the Mast Avoided the Sirens but Led Him to Charybdis
Why was recovery from the euro area crisis delayed for a decade? The explanation lies in the absence of credible and timely policies to backstop financial intermediaries and sovereign debt markets. In this paper we add light and color to this analysis, contrasting recent experience with the 1992-3 crisis in the European Monetary System, when national central banks and treasuries more successfully provided this backstop. In the more recent episode, the incomplete development of the euro area constrained the ability of the ECB and other European institutions to do likewise.
AUTHORS: Corsetti, Giancarlo; Eichengreen, Barry; Hale, Galina; Tallman, Eric
Why Is Inflation Low Globally?
A hot economy eventually boosts inflation. Such is the simple wisdom of the Phillips curve. Yet inflation across developed countries has been remarkably weak since the 2008 global financial crisis, even though unemployment rates are near historical lows. What is behind this recent disconnect between inflation and unemployment? Contrasting the experiences of developed and developing economies before and after the financial crisis shows that broader factors than monetary policy are at play. Inflation has declined globally, and this trend preceded the financial crisis.
AUTHORS: Nechio, Fernanda; Tallman, Eric; Jordà, Òscar; Marti, Chitra
Is GDP Overstating Economic Activity?
Since late 2015, growth in real GDP has consistently exceeded that in real GDI, a prominent alternative measure of aggregate output, with an average difference of about 0.65 percentage point. Is real GDP overstating the expansion? One way to address this question is by comparing the accuracy of these measures in forecasting a benchmark measure of economic activity, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index. The comparison suggests that GDP consistently outperforms GDI in predicting recent real economic activity. Therefore, the weaker GDI growth does not necessarily indicate slower economic growth.
AUTHORS: Tallman, Eric; Liu, Zheng; Spiegel, Mark M.