Now showing 1 - 10 of 79
  • Publication
    Federal Reserve information during the great moderation
    (Central Bank of Ireland, 2007-11) ;
    Using data from the period 1970-1991, Romer and Romer (2000) showed that Federal Reserve forecasts of inflation and output were superior to those provided by commercial forecasters. In this paper, we show that this superior forecasting performance deteriorated after 1991. Over the decade 1992-2001, the superior forecast accuracy of the Fed held only over a very short time horizon and was limited to its forecasts of inflation. In addition, the performance of both the Fed and the commerical forecasters in predicting inflation and output, relative to that of "naive" benchmark models, dropped remarkably during this period.
  • Publication
    Are some forecasters really better than others?
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-04) ; ;
    In any dataset with individual forecasts of economic variables, some forecasters will perform better than others. However, it is possible that these ex post differences reflect sampling variation and thus overstate the ex ante differences between forecasters. In this paper, we present a simple test of the null hypothesis that all forecasters in the US Survey of Professional Forecasters have equal ability. We construct a test statistic that reflects both the relative and absolute performance of the forecaster and use bootstrap techniques to compare the empirical results with the equivalents obtained under the null hypothesis of equal forecaster ability. Results suggests limited evidence for the idea that the best forecasters are actually innately better than others, though there is evidence that a relatively small group of forecasters perform very poorly.
  • Publication
    Technology shocks and hours worked : checking for robust conclusions
    (Central Bank of Ireland, 2004-10)
    This paper presents some new results on the effects of technology shocks on hours worked based on structural VAR specifications containing various measures of US productivity growth and hours. These specifications can produce different answers depending on which sector of the economy is examined, which transformation of hours worked is used, and on how many lags are chosen for the VAR. However, it is shown that the results from the stochastic trend specification used by Jordi Gali (1999) are robust across changes in data definition and lag length, while the results from the per capita hours specification of Christiano, Eichenbaum, and Vigfusson (2003) are not. These results provide support for Gali's findings that technology shocks have a negative impact effect on hours worked and that these shocks play a limited role in generating the business cycle.
  • Publication
    Solow (1956) as a model of cross-country growth dynamics
    (Central Bank of Ireland, 2007-02) ;
    Despite the widespread popularity of the Solow growth model, much of the recent empirical work based on the classic framework misrepresents a crucial feature of the model. Namely, the growth rate of technological progress, assumed to be exogenous in the Solow model, is often identified as being constant across countries. This simplification of the behaviour of technological progress runs counter to the evidence and has had a number of significant implications for the interpretation of the Solow model. One implication has been an overemphasis on the role of factor accumulation in explaining cross-country income differentials. In addition, the commonly-cited empirical result that the speed of conditional convergence is slower than predicted by the Solow model is a function of this inaccurate assumption about technology rather than due to a failure of the model itself.
  • Publication
    Tax incentives, material inputs, and the supply curve for capital equipment
    (Federal Reserve, 1999-05-04)
    The slope of the supply curve for capital equipment has important implications for the macroeconomics of investment and the effects of tax reform on capital accumulation. Goolsbee (1998) has used changes in investment tax incentives to identify whether this supply curve is significantly upward-sloping and has concluded that it is. This paper shows that investment tax incentives are a poor instrument for identifying this supply curve because they are spuriously correlated with supply shocks for equipment producers. Once input costs for equipment producers are controlled for, there is no evidence of a relationship between tax incentives and equipment prices. In fact, the evidence favors the interpretation that the supply curve is flat.
  • Publication
    New evidence on balanced growth, stochastic trends, and economic fluctuations
    (2004 Copyright Central Bank of Ireland, 2004-10)
    The one-sector Solow-Ramsey growth model informs how most modern researchers characterize macroeconomic trends and cycles, and evidence supporting the model's balanced growth predictions is often cited. This paper shows, however, that the inclu- sion of recent data leads to the balanced growth predictions being rejected. An alter- native balanced growth hypothesis that the ratio of nominal consumption to nominal investment is stationary is put forward, and new measures of the stochastic trends and cycles in aggregate US data are derived based on this hypothesis. The contrasting behavior of real and nominal ratios is consistent with a two-sector model of economic growth, with separate production technologies for consumption and investment and two stochastic trends underlying the long-run behavior of all macroeconomic series. Empirical estimates of these stochastic trends are presented based on a structural VAR and the role played in the business cycle by shocks to these trends is discussed.
  • Publication
    TARGET2 and Central Bank Balance Sheets
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2012-11)
    The Eurosystem’s TARGET2 payments system has featured heavily in academic and popular discussions in recent years. Much of this commentary had described the system as being responsible for a “secret bailout” of Europe’s periphery which has led to huge credit risks for the Bundesbank should the euro break up. This paper discusses the TARGET2 system, focusing in particular on how it impacts the balance sheets of the central banks that participate in the system. It concludes that the TARGET2 is largely innocent of the charges that have been levelled against it. Arguments that TARGET2 facilitated a bailout of the periphery or that the system is playing a key role in facilitating peripheral current account deficits turn out to be wide of the mark. Risks to Germany due to the loss of TARGET2‐related revenues for the Bundesbank after a euro break‐up turn out to relatively small because these revenues are limited and because there are potentially large gains from new seigniorage revenues in this scenario. Many criticisms involving TARGET2 turn out, on closer examination, to be criticisms of the ECB’s core principle of treating credit institutions across the euro area in an equal manner. Proposals that the ECB adopt procedures that discriminate between banks in different countries (or that restrict the operation of payments systems in certain countries) are likely to be incompatible with the continuation of the euro as a common currency.
  • Publication
    Where Do We Stand With “Whatever It Takes”?
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-06)
    It is ten years since Mario Draghi’s "whatever it takes" speech and the announcement of the OMT programme designed to address financial fragmentation. This paper reviews the sources of financial fragmentation including and discusses whether monetary tightening over the next few years will trigger concerns about unsustainable fiscal burdens in some euro area member states. The paper discusses the evolution of ECB policy regarding fragmentation and the practical and legal issues involved. Legal limits on sovereign bond holdings may force the ECB into some difficult choices in the coming years.
  • Publication
    Europe's Long-Term Growth Prospects: With and Without Structural Reforms
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2015-03-25) ;
    Even before the financial crisis of 2007/08, there were significant questions about Europe's long-term growth prospects. After a long period of catching up with US levels of labour productivity, euro area productivity growth had, from the mid-1990s onwards, fallen significantly behind. Using data for the period 1970 to 2006, McQuinn and Whelan (2008) identified declining rates of total factor productivity (TFP) growth and weaker capital accumulation as areas for concern in an European context. In updating this earlier analysis, we find that the growth prospects of the euro area have deteriorated further. With TFP growth continuing to fall, Europe's demographics are now also contributing to a decline in the workforce. Against this backdrop, we provide a long-term projection for euro area GDP based on unchanged policies and discuss the possible impacts of certain structural reforms including potential changes in the unemployment rate, pension reform and the successful implementation of a significant wider programme of regulatory reform that boosts TFP growth. We argue that, even with the successful adoption of these measures, the European economy is still likely to grow at a slower pace than it has in the past.