We estimate an open economy DSGE model to study the fiscal policy implications of downward nominal wage rigidity (DNWR) in a monetary union. DNWR has significantly exacerbated the recession in the southern euro area countries and is important for the design of fiscal policy. We show that a cut in social security contributions paid by employers (equivalent to wage subsidies) is particularly effective in a deep recession with limited wage adjustment. Such cuts strengthen domestic demand and international competitiveness. Compared to government expenditure increases, the reduction in social security contributions provides more persistent growth effects and enhances the fiscal position. Non-linear estimation methods establish a strong state-dependence of policy.
We quantify the effects of monetary policy shocks on the yield curve through their impact on Treasury liquidity premia. When the Fed raises interest rates, the spread between less-liquid assets and Treasuries of the same maturity and risk increases, as the liquidity value of holding Treasuries increases when the aggregate volume of banks’ customer deposits decreases. The longer the maturity is, the smaller - but still significant - the increase in the liquidity premium is, as longer-term Treasuries are less liquid. Due to this change in liquidity premia, the spread between a 10-year Treasury bond and a 3-month T-bill yield increases by approximately 5 basis points for a one-percentage-point increase in the policy rate, i.e., the Treasury yield curve steepens, ceteris paribus.
This paper analyzes efficiency and profitability in the Swiss banking sector over the period 1997-2019. We find strong evidence for scale economies: for most banks in the sample, efficiency and profitability increase with bank size. Using an instrumental variables strategy for a subset of geographically restrained banks, we find that the effect of size on efficiency and profitability is likely causal. Scale economies have been more pronounced since 2010 than in the years prior to the global financial crisis. There is little evidence for scale economies for the largest (systemically important) banks; their relatively lower efficiency and lower profitability appear driven by certain aspects of their business model. Our results further indicate that good capitalization and high efficiency and profitability are compatible.
An unintended consequence of loose US monetary policy is the increase in currency risk exposure abroad. Using firm-level data on corporate bond issuances in 17 emerging market economies (EME) between 2003 and 2015, we find that EME companies are more likely to issue bonds in foreign currency when US interest rates are low. This increase occurs across the board, including for firms more vulnerable to foreign exchange exposure, and is particularly strong for bonds issued in local markets. Interestingly, capital controls on bond inflows significantly decrease the likelihood of issuing in foreign currency and can even eliminate the adverse impact of low US interest rates. In contrast, macroprudential foreign exchange regulations tend to increase foreign currency issuances of non-financial corporates, although this effect can be significantly reduced using capital controls.
We analyze the forces that explain inflation using a large panel of 122 countries from 1997 to 2015. Models motivated by the economic theory are compared to a boosting algorithm, and non-linearities and structural breaks are explicitly considered. The boosting algorithm outperforms theory-based models. Further, we provide compelling evidence that the interaction of energy price and energy rents stand out among 37 explanatory variables. Other important determinants are demographic developments. Contrary to common belief, globalization and technology, public debt, central bank independence and transparency as well as countries’ political characteristics, are less relevant. Exchange rate arrangements are more important than inflation-targeting regimes. Moreover, GDP per capita is more relevant than the output gap and credit growth is generally superior to M2 growth. Many predictors exhibit a structural break since the financial crisis. In particular, credit growth has lost its grip on the inflation process.