DIW Roundup

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The Natural Rate of Interest and Secular Stagnation
30.01.2017, Guido Baldi
Roundup 110

In many advanced economies, there has been a declining trend in interest rates over the past thirty years. Since the financial crisis, interest rates have remained particularly low. Though a decrease in inflation explains part of the fall in nominal interest rates, there is also a clear downtrend in real interest rates. Against this backdrop, a debate has emerged over the factors that might have contributed to this decline. Potential persistent factors discussed under the heading of “secular stagnation” include a decline in profitable investment opportunities and high global (...)

The Natural Rate of Interest II: Empirical Overview
30.01.2017, Philipp König
Roundup 109

The concept of the natural rate of interest (NRI) dates back to Wicksell (1898) and has since then been highly debated in the economic literature. In practice, estimates of the NRI can be employed as a versatile tool for macroeconomic analysis and are a core element within the popular neo-Wicksellian (or New-Keynesian) framework. The real rate gap, i.e. the difference between the actual interest rate and the NRI, provides valuable information about the state of the economy and can help policy makers to adjust the monetary policy stance. However, the NRI cannot be directly observed and has to (...)

The Natural Rate of Interest I: Theory
27.01.2017, Philipp König
Roundup 108

The term natural (or neutral) real interest rate refers to the equilibrium value of the real interest rate. As this equilibrium is usually conceived as a situation where inflationary or deflationary pressures have abated, the natural real interest rate is a key concept for central banks seeking to stabilize the general price level or targeting the rate of inflation. The present roundup provides a brief historical review of this concept and explains the relevance of the natural real rate for monetary policy analysis. 

The Inflation Targeting Debate
09.01.2017, Malte Rieth
Roundup 107

Inflation targeting has become one of the most prominent monetary regimes around the globe. Proponents argue that it reduces the dynamic inconsistency problem of monetary policy and thereby stabilises prices, which in turn promotes growth. Opponents, on the other hand, say that by focusing on price stability inflation targeting neglects other important policy objectives, such as financial stability, and thereby contributed to the built up of the global financial crisis. This roundup summarises the arguments made in the debate. It concludes that no consensus has emerged in the empirical (...)

Staatsfonds in Zeiten niedriger Rohstoffpreise
24.05.2016, Hella Engerer
Roundup 97

Unter Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) oder Staatsfonds werden Fonds verstanden, die im Auftrag eines Staates Geld anlegen und verwalten. Die Fonds speisen sich häufig aus Ressourcen, insbesondere aus Einnahmen von Öl- und Gasexporten. Sie sollen in rohstoffexportierenden Ländern dazu beitragen, mögliche Preisschwankungen auf internationalen Rohstoffmärkten abzufedern oder finanzielle Reserven für künftige Generationen zu bilden. Lange Zeit hatten steigende Energiepreise zu einer rasanten Zunahme des Fondsvolumens auf weltweit insgesamt über sieben Billionen (...)

The Dilemma or Trilemma Debate: Empirical Evidence
26.04.2016, Pablo Anaya, Michael Hachula
Roundup 95

One of the central results in international economics is that an economy cannot have at the same time independent monetary policy, free capital flows, and a fixed exchange rate. Over the last few years, however, this so-called Mundell-Flemming ‘trilemma’ has increasingly been challenged. It is argued that given the rising importance and synchronization of capital and credit flows across countries and their underlying common driving forces, the ‘trilemma’ has morphed into a ‘dilemma’: an economy cannot have at the same time independent monetary policy and an (...)

Can central banks successfully lean against global headwinds?
22.12.2015, Malte Rieth
Roundup 88

Despite expansionary central bank action, inflation remains low in the euro area. How much can we expect from the additional stimulus in face of anaemic global growth and declining oil prices? More generally, have central banks lost the ability to steer inflation in a globalised world where external factors have powerful effects on domestic inflation? This roundup summarises the evidence in the literature and concludes that central banks retain influence on domestic inflation.  

Monetary Policy and the Risk-Taking Channel
28.07.2015, Michele Piffer
Roundup 75

Before the 2007 crisis, the trade-off between output and inflation played a leading role in the discussion of monetary policy. Instead, issues relating to financial stability played a less pronounced role in shaping the stance of monetary policy and were limited to asset price dynamics. This Roundup argues that the great interest that emerged after the 2007 crisis in the effects of monetary policy on financial stability reflects the shift in attention from asset price dynamics to risk-taking incentives of financial intermediaries. The Roundup reviews the economic literature that contributed to (...)

The Debate about Financing Constraints of SMEs in Europe
21.05.2015, Franziska Bremus
Roundup 66

Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are highly dependent on bank financing, which is why they have been particularly hit by tighter credit conditions in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Given that SMEs account for about 60% of value added and 70% of employment in the euro area, they are crucial for economic recovery. Consequently, several policy initiatives have been launched to alleviate SMEs’ financing constraints. This Roundup gives an overview of the current debate about financing obstacles of SMEs in Europe and collects policy recommendations from the economic (...)

Finanzspekulation und Rohstoffpreise
07.05.2015, Michael Hachula, Malte Rieth
Roundup 63

In der letzten Dekade kam es bei Rohstoffen zu heftigen Preisschwankungen. Gleichzeitig nahm der Anteil von Finanzinvestoren an Rohstoffterminbörsen erheblich zu. Im Zuge ist eine Diskussion entbrannt, ob Finanzspekulation Rohstoffpreise von ihren fundamentalen Bestimmungsgrößen entfernt. Wissenschaftliche Studien kommen diesbezüglich jedoch zu keinem eindeutigen Ergebnis. Die Politik hat trotzdem bereits Maßnahmen zur stärkeren Regulierung von Rohstoffterminbörsen eingeleitet. Dieser Roundup gibt einen Überblick über die bisherigen Entwicklungen (...)

Large-Scale Asset Purchases by Central Banks II: Empirical Evidence
08.04.2015, Kerstin Bernoth, Philipp König
Roundup 61

Not just since the European Central Bank announced the large-scale purchase of government bonds a few weeks ago, large-scale asset purchases have always been a controversially discussed topic. This DIW Roundup summarizes the measures that have been taken by central banks in Japan, USA and UK and the empirical evidence about the impacts of these measures on financial markets and the real economy.

Central Bank Asset Purchases I: The Theory
07.04.2015, Philipp König, Kerstin Bernoth
Roundup 60

In the face of interest rates having hit their zero lower bound in major economies, large-scale asset purchases have become an important weapon of central banks in recent years. It is, however, not clear whether and under which circumstances such policy measures produce the desired effects. This DIW Roundup provides a selective overview of theoretical research that has been devoted to understand under what conditions central bank asset purchases lead to reductions in longer-term interest rates and produce stimulating effects on the overall economy.

Die Debatte um die Einlagensicherung: Hintergründe und Perspektiven
12.02.2015, Claudia Lambert
Roundup 56

Am 6. November 2014 wurde die Umsetzung der Bankenunion mittels vier neuer Gesetze auch im Bundestag final besiegelt, nachdem sie zuvor bereits auf europäischer Ebene beschlossen wurde. Die Bankenunion ruht im Wesentlichen auf zwei Säulen: dem einheitlichen Aufsichtsmechnismus (SSM) und dem einheitlichen Abwicklungsmechanismus (SRM). Die Ausgestaltung der dritten Säule war bis zuletzt Gegenstand einer intensiven Debatte und kreiste um die Frage, ob es neben (harmonisierten) nationalen Systemen auch einer einheitlichen europäischen Einlagensicherung bedürfe?

Bubbles and Monetary Policy: To Burst or not to Burst?
10.02.2015, David Pothier, Philipp König
Roundup 55

The question of whether monetary policy should target asset prices remains a contentious issue. Prior to the 2007/08 financial crisis, central banks opted for a wait-and-see approach, remaining passive during the build-up of asset price bubbles but actively seeking to stabilize prices and output after they burst. The macroeconomic and financial turbulence that followed the subprime housing bubble has led to a renewed debate concerning monetary policy’s role in maintaining financial stability. This Round-Up provides a brief overview of this topic.

The Role of Financial Literacy and of Financial Education Interventions in Developing Countries
09.09.2014, Margherita Calderone
Roundup 34

Financial literacy has received increased attention since the global financial crisis and the literature confirms that it is correlated with higher household well-being. In parallel, financial education programs have grown in popularity and an increasing number of countries are developing national financial education strategies and making more investments in related programs. However, the evidence from field experimental research linking financial education interventions and household financial outcomes in developing countries provides mixed results. New findings from recent experiments (...)

The Bank Capital Debate: Should Fragility Be Reduced?
29.04.2014, David Pothier, Philipp König
Roundup 17

The recent financial crisis has exposed the fragility of the banking sector to sudden withdrawals of wholesale funding, asset price declines and market dry-ups. Governments and central banks had to step in to prevent major banks from defaulting. These events led to renewed interest in the question whether the fragility of banks should be tolerated as a necessary, even desirable feature of an efficient process of financial intermediation, or whether banks should be subject to stricter regulation ex ante. This Round-Up summarizes the key arguments on both sides of the debate.

Ein fiskalischer Versicherungsmechanismus für Europa
04.04.2014, Malte Rieth
Roundup 12

Während die europäische Bankenunion seit dem Finanzministertreffen im Dezember 2013 konkrete Züge annimmt, bleiben die Vorschläge der Politik zur Gestaltung einer Fiskalunion vage. Hingegen werden in der Wissenschaft und politischen Beratung mittlerweile mehrere Modelle eines finanzpolitischen Transfersystems für die Europäische Union oder die Eurozone diskutiert. Diese Zusammenfassung erklärt, warum eine solches System sinnvoll sein kann und stellt die alternativen Modelle vor.

Die Verbindung zwischen Staats- und Bankrisiken: wie kann man diese entkoppeln?
28.03.2014, Claudia Lambert
Roundup 11

Finanz- und Schuldenkrisen treten häufig gemeinsam auf, da Banken in Staatsanleihen ihrer Heimatländer investieren. Unumstritten ist, dass Bankenrisiken von Staatsrisiken stärker entkoppelt werden sollten. Die Bankenunion, deren Ausgestaltung zugegebenermaßen schwierig ist, wird häufig als Mittel der Wahl genannt. Doch reicht das schon aus?

Knappheit sicherer Anleihen? Neue Herausforderungen nach der Krise
07.01.2014, Christoph Große Steffen
Roundup 3

Sichere und liquide Wertpapiere sind das Schmiermittel im Finanzsystem. Sie dienen der Wertaufbewahrung, um regulatorische Erfordernisse zu erfüllen, sowie als Bezugspunkt für wichtige Marktpreise. Während einige Wissenschaftler eine fortdauernde Knappheit im Angebot sicherer Anleihen und Anlagemöglichkeiten sehen, mit möglichen globalen Auswirkungen, sind andere Wissenschaftler gelassen oder widersprechen der Ansicht einer Knappheit sicherer Anleihen. Im veränderten Umfeld nach der globalen Finanzmarktkrise und der Schuldenkrise im Euroraum stellt die Knappheit (...)

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