Research Bulletins published in 2019

The Research Bulletin features a selection of recent work on policy-relevant topics by ECB economists. Published on a monthly basis, the articles in the Research Bulletin are intended for a general audience.

The views expressed in each article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the European Central Bank and the Eurosystem.

For information about the Research Bulletin articles, contact [email protected].

Availability: ECB Research Bulletin articles are available online only, get updated on latest releases by RSS news feed.

No. 63
14 October 2019
The gender promotion gap: what holds back female economists from making a career in central banking?

Abstract

JEL Classification

D20 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→General

J16 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Economics of Gender, Non-labor Discrimination

J13 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Fertility, Family Planning, Child Care, Children, Youth

L20 : Industrial Organization→Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior→General

M50 : Business Administration and Business Economics, Marketing, Accounting→Personnel Economics→General

Abstract

The underrepresentation of women in economics is perhaps nowhere as visible as in central banks. This Research Bulletin article uses anonymised personnel data to analyse the career progression of men and women at the European Central Bank (ECB). Women were less likely to be promoted up until 2010, when the ECB issued a statement supporting diversity and took measures to support gender balance. Following this change, the promotion gap disappeared. This masked a lower probability of women applying for promotion, which is partially explained by an aversion to competing, combined with a higher probability of being selected after having applied. Following promotion, women performed better in terms of salary progression, suggesting that the higher probability of being selected is based on merit, not positive discrimination. Thus, organisations such as the ECB should provide training and services that target the competition-related reasons that discourage women from applying for promotion.

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No. 62
26 September 2019
Unconventional monetary policy operations – to what extent is there an upside for central bank balance sheet risks?

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

Abstract

This article studies this question by revisiting the Eurosystem's experience during the euro area sovereign debt crisis between 2010 and 2012. In some instances, the Eurosystem was able to remove excess risk from parts of its balance sheet by extending the scale of its operations, in line with Bagehot's well-known assertion that occasionally "the brave plan is the safe plan."

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No. 61
30 July 2019
How to signal the future path of interest rates? The international evidence on forward guidance

Abstract

JEL Classification

D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief

E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

Forward guidance, i.e. communication by a central bank about the likely future path of interest rates, usually reduces uncertainty. But it matters how this is done in practice, because forward guidance with a short time horizon can raise uncertainty. This occurs if the forward guidance impairs the aggregation of private information in financial markets, thus making market prices less informative.

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No. 60
16 July 2019
Do low interest rates hurt banks’ equity values?

Abstract

JEL Classification

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

The effects of interest rate surprises on banks are different when nominal interest rates are very low. In “normal” times, policy rate announcements that are below market expectations tend to boost banks’ stock prices on average. When interest rates are very low, however, there is a reversal of this effect: at such times, negative rate surprises reduce banks’ stock prices. This negative impact is larger for banks whose funding relies more on retail deposits than on other sources of funding.

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No. 59
27 June 2019
Price and Wage Setting when Accurate Decisions Are Costly: Implications for Monetary Policy Transmission

Abstract

JEL Classification

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

D81 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

C73 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Game Theory and Bargaining Theory→Stochastic and Dynamic Games, Evolutionary Games, Repeated Games

Abstract

Recent low inflation is motivating new research to better characterise how individual firms and workers set prices and wages. In this article, we describe a new approach which emphasises that the costs of decision-making may limit the precision of price and wage changes. As well as making better sense of price and wage changes in microeconomic data, this new approach also strikes a middle ground between two leading models of monetary policy transmission, improving our quantitative understanding of the short-run effects of monetary policy on output and the short-run trade-off between inflation and unemployment.

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No. 58
23 May 2019
Prudential regulation, national differences and banking stability

Abstract

JEL Classification

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

Abstract

What role does prudential regulation play in the prevention of banking crises? Before the financial crisis there were important national differences in the implementation of the EU framework for capital regulation. This article suggests that these differences had important implications for the resilience of banks during the crisis and that, generally, banks that were subject to less stringent prudential regulation before the crisis were more likely to require some form of public support when the crisis came.

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No. 57
30 April 2019
What is the macroeconomic impact of changing money market conditions?

Abstract

JEL Classification

G10 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→General

G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

Money markets are an important source of short-term funding for banks, which rely heavily on them to cover their liquidity needs. But when money markets do not function smoothly, banks may have to de-leverage or increase their holdings of liquid assets, leading to a decline in lending and output. This decline can be mitigated by central banks if they increase the size of their balance sheets.

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No. 56
26 March 2019
Interactions between monetary and macroprudential policies

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

Abstract

Should monetary policy be concerned with financial stability? Or do financial supervisory and regulatory policies suffice to achieve this goal? These questions have been prominent in the policy debate since the global financial crisis. To address them, I develop a tractable monetary model in which systemic risk and economic activity both depend on financial conditions. I show that there are benefits from using monetary policy, i.e., interest-rate policies, to enhance financial stability. These benefits are quantitatively moderate, however, and partly offset by costs in terms of inflation variability.

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No. 55
22 February 2019
Interest rate risk in the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

Challenging conventional wisdom, recent research shows that, collectively, euro area banks have limited exposure to interest rate risk, but that their individual exposures vary significantly from institution to institution. Differences in interest-rate setting conventions for loan contracts, especially mortgages, across euro area countries have been shown to be an important driver of this heterogeneity. This heterogeneity remains pronounced even after taking into account hedging activity in derivatives markets, suggesting that monetary policy may be transmitted through different channels in different parts of the euro area.

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No. 54
29 January 2019
Quantitative easing did not increase inequality in the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

“Quantitative easing” refers to central bank purchases of assets such as stocks and bonds to increase the money supply when interest rates are too low for conventional rate cuts to provide further policy accommodation. Quantitative easing in the euro area through the ECB’s asset purchase programme (APP) has stimulated economic activity and asset prices, affecting income and wealth inequality among households. It has decreased income inequality, mostly by reducing the unemployment rate for poorer households, but also, to a lesser extent, by increasing the wages of the employed. Quantitative easing has also helped to reduce net wealth inequality slightly through its positive impact on house prices.

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