- Working Paper (18) (remove)
- Monetary theory and monetary policy : reflections on the development over the last 150 years (2012)
- In this paper, we provide some reflections on the development of monetary theory and monetary policy over the last 150 years. Rather than presenting an encompassing overview, which would be overambitious, we simply concentrate on a few selected aspects that we view as milestones in the development of this subject. We also try to illustrate some of the interactions with the political and financial system, academic discussion and the views and actions of central banks.
- Opting out of the great inflation: German monetary policy after the break down of Bretton Woods (2009)
- During the turbulent 1970s and 1980s the Bundesbank established an outstanding reputation in the world of central banking. Germany achieved a high degree of domestic stability and provided safe haven for investors in times of turmoil in the international financial system. Eventually the Bundesbank provided the role model for the European Central Bank. Hence, we examine an episode of lasting importance in European monetary history. The purpose of this paper is to highlight how the Bundesbank monetary policy strategy contributed to this success. We analyze the strategy as it was conceived, communicated and refined by the Bundesbank itself. We propose a theoretical framework (following Söderström, 2005) where monetary targeting is interpreted, first and foremost, as a commitment device. In our setting, a monetary target helps anchoring inflation and inflation expectations. We derive an interest rate rule and show empirically that it approximates the way the Bundesbank conducted monetary policy over the period 1975-1998. We compare the Bundesbank´s monetary policy rule with those of the FED and of the Bank of England. We find that the Bundesbank´s policy reaction function was characterized by strong persistence of policy rates as well as a strong response to deviations of inflation from target and to the activity growth gap. In contrast, the response to the level of the output gap was not significant. In our empirical analysis we use real-time data, as available to policy-makers at the time. JEL Classification: E31, E32, E41, E52, E58
- Challenges for monetary policy (2013)
- The financial crisis which started in 2007 has caused a tremendous challenge for monetary policy. The simple concept of inflation targeting has lost its position as state of the art. There is a debate on whether the mandate of a central bank should not be widened. And, indeed, monetary policy has been very accommodative in the last couple of years and central banks have modified their communication strategies by introducing forward guidance as a new policy tool. This paper addresses the consequences of these developments for the credibility, the reputation and the independence of central banks. It also comments on the recent debate among economists concerning the question whether the ECB's OMT program is compatible with its mandate.
- A new paradigm for monetary policy? (2013)
- Keynote speech to Conference “Twenty Years of Transition – Experiences and Challenges”. Central Bank of Slovakia. Bratislava, 3 May 2013
- Transcript of a hearing before members of the House of Lords (UK) in Frankfurt on genuine economic and monetary union and its implication for the UK (2014)
- On November 8, 2013, several members of the British House of Lords’ Subcommittee A conducted a hearing at the ECB in Frankfurt, Germany, on “Genuine Economic and Monetary Union and its Implications for the UK”. Professors Otmar Issing and Jan Pieter Krahnen were called as expert witnesses. The testimony began with a general discussion on the elements considered necessary for a functioning internal market. Do economic union and monetary union require a fiscal union or even a political union, beyond the elements of the banking union currently being prepared? In this context, also the critique of the German current account surplus and the international expectations that Germany stimulate internal demand to support growth in crisis countries, were discussed. With regard to the monetary union, the members of the subcommittee asked for an assessment of how European nations and the banking industry would have fared in the banking crisis that followed the Lehman collapse, had there not been a common currency. Given the important role that the ECB has played in the course of the crisis management, the members further asked for an evaluation of the OMT-program of the ECB and also if the monetary union is in need of common debt instruments, in order to provide the ECB with the possibility of buying EU liabilities, comparable to the Fed buying US Treasury bonds. Finally, the dual role of the ECB for monetary policy and banking supervision was an issue touched on by several questions.
- Monetary policy and balance sheet adjustment (2014)
- In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis that started in 2007, policymakers were forced to respond quickly and forcefully to a recession caused not by short-term factors, but rather by an over-accumulation of debt by sovereigns, banks, and households: a so-called “balance sheet recession.” Though the nature of the crisis was understood relatively early on, policy prescriptions for how to deal with its consequences have continued to diverge. This paper gives a short overview of the prescriptions, the remaining challenges and key lessons for monetary policy.
- Forward guidance: a new challenge for central banks (2014)
- n a contribution prepared for the Athens Symposium on “Banking Union, Monetary Policy and Economic Growth”, Otmar Issing describes forward guidance by central banks as the culmination of the idea of guiding expectations by pure communication. In practice, he argues, forward guidance has proved a misguided idea. What is presented as state of the art monetary policy is an example of pretence of knowledge. Forward guidance tries to give the impression of a kind of rule-based monetary policy. De facto, however, it is an overambitious discretionary approach which, to be successful, would need much more (or rather better) information than is currently available. In Issing's view, communication must be clear and honest about the limits of monetary policy in a world of uncertainty.