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Understanding low inflation in the euro area from 2013 to 2019: cyclical and structural drivers

Gerrit Koester, Eliza Lis, Christiane Nickel, Chiara Osbat and Frank Smets

No 280, Occasional Paper Series from European Central Bank

Abstract: From 2013 up to the launch of the ECB’s strategy review in January 2020, inflation in the euro area was low and over-predicted. This low inflation during the years 2013-19 can be attributed to a combination of interconnected factors. Cyclical developments account for a substantial share of the fall in underlying inflation, mainly in the first part of the low inflation period. Additionally, there is evidence that an underestimation of the amount of economic slack and less well-anchored longer-term inflation expectations, in combination with monetary policy in the euro area being constrained by the effective lower bound, have played an important role in the long period of subdued inflation. Ongoing disinflationary structural trends (such as globalisation, digitalisation and demographic factors) are likely to have had a dampening effect on inflation over the last few decades, but were in themselves not the main drivers of low inflation in the euro area from 2013 to 2019. However, as they could not have been easily offset by interest rate policy in an effective lower bound environment, they might also have contributed to the more subdued inflation dynamics in the euro area from 2013 to 2019. JEL Classification: C51, E31, E32, E37, E52, F62, J11, J30

Keywords: effective lower bound; HICP inflation; low inflation; Monetary policy review; underlying inflation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cba, nep-eec, nep-isf, nep-mac and nep-mon
Note: 3015628
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