Macroeconomics

Seeking feedback: Towards a New Keynesian Theory of the Price Level

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John Barrdear

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Does business intelligence still point to labour market slack?

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One of the puzzles arising from the economic recovery has been the difficulty of squaring sharp falls in unemployment with – at least until recently – only slow growth in average earnings.   The common interpretation is that there’s still more slack than “normal” in the labour market.  However, in this post, we argue that there has been a more marked labour market tightening so that there is now slightly less slack than “normal”.  That suggests that earnings growth has been suppressed by factors other than labour market slack – leaving a risk that wage inflation will pick up sharply if and

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Supply-side secular stagnation and the future of innovation

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Saara Tuuli & Sandra Batten Back to the future: why we’re optimists in the secular stagnation debate Seven years after the financial crisis, global growth remains anaemic and the policy setting is nowhere near normal.  Some commentators have suggested that … Continue reading

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Banks are not intermediaries of loanable funds – and why this matters

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Problems in the banking sector played a critical role in triggering and prolonging the Great Recession. Unfortunately, standard macroeconomic models were initially not ready to provide much support in thinking about the role of banks. This has now changed, with many new papers that study the interaction of banks with the macroeconomy. However, as emphasized by Adrian, Colla and Shin (2013), there are many unresolved issues.

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Oil is not as it seems: Expectations of future oil supply key to explaining drop in price

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The sharp fall in the oil price in late 2014 was mostly due to supply rather than demand, with expectations of future supply more important than shifts in current production. We can conclude this by comparing a model using economic data with another using asset prices that capture expectations of future oil supply. Our supply side explanation implies the fall in the oil price is mostly good news for the UK and other oil importers, rather than mainly a signal of a weaker global economy.

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Skills matter: The changing workforce and the effects on pay and productivity

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Pay and productivity growth over the past couple of years have remained weak despite a rapid fall in unemployment and robust GDP growth. But these aggregate measures in the UK reflect the sum of a diverse range of individuals in the workforce. Changes in the mix of that workforce, therefore, can affect pay and productivity growth. Based on analysis of the determinants of individual workers’ wages, I estimate that changes in the mix of the workforce may account for about 1pp of the recent weakness in annual average pay growth relative to normal.

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How does the scope for policy loosening affect the risk of deflation?

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Inflation is currently very low in the UK (indeed briefly dipping into negative territory in April), naturally raising speculation about whether we will experience persistent deflation in coming years. This post illustrates that the probability of deflation is raised further, and the likely duration of any deflation increased, if one thinks that there are limits on how far the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could loosen policy in the face of new shocks.

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