Friday, April 26, 2013

26/4/2013: ECB's policy mismatch in 6 graphs

For those interested in the monetary drivers of the current euro area crisis, here's an interesting new paper from CESifo (WP 4178, March 31, 2013): "The Monetary Policy of the ECB: A Robin Hood Approach?" by Marcus Drometer, Thomas I. Siemsen and Sebastian Watzka.

In the paper, authors "derive four sets of counterfactual national interest rate paths for the 17 Euro Area countries for the time period 1999 to 2012. They approximate desirable national interest rates countries would have liked to implement if they could still conduct independent monetary policy. We find that prior to the financial crisis the counterfactual interest rates for Germany trace the realized EONIA rate very closely, while monetary policy has been too loose especially for the southern European countries. This situation was inverted with the onset of the financial crisis. To shed light on the underlying decision rule of the ECB, we rank different rules according to their ability to aggregate the national counterfactual paths to the EONIA rate. In addition to previous literature we find that those mechanisms which care for countries who fare economically worse than the Euro Area average perform best."

Paper is available at SSRN:

Here are few charts, illustrating the results. In these TR references Taylor Rule, quarterly estimated backward-looking Bundesbank rule denoted BuBa, monthly estimated Bundesbank rules with interest rates smoothing denoted BuBaS and BuBaGMM respectively for backward- and forward-looking, and realised EONIA rate.



Per authors: "Two results are worth noting.

First, the counterfactual interest rate path derived from the original Taylor rule and our baseline counterfactual path (quarterly estimated backward-looking Bundesbank rule) trace each other very closely. In fact, they are hardly distinguishable. The monthly estimated Bundesbank rules with interest rate smoothing (backward- and forward-looking) deviate sometimes considerably from the quarterly paths. …all four paths yield qualitatively similar results...

Second, …all four counterfactual paths for Germany lie strikingly close to the actual realization of the EONIA rate. Especially
for the southern European countries the ECB’s monetary policy has been too loose according to all four counterfactuals."

And more: "For all four sets of counterfactual national interest rate paths the Robin Hood rules outperform the standard decision rules. Especially our "economic-needs"-rule performs exceptionally good across all four specifications. Moreover, the forward looking model performs worse than the three backward looking specifications."

In other words, ECB policy rules were completely mis-matching the reality in all countries, save Germany, with (per charts above) mismatch most dramatic in… right… Ireland.

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