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Essays on Inflation: Expectations, Forecasting and Markups

Angela Capolongo

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: This manuscript is composed of three chapters.In the first chapter, I analyze the impact of key European Central Bank’s unconventional monetary policy announcements on inflation expectations, measured by Euro Area five-year Inflation Linked Swap rates five years ahead, since the aftermath of the crisis. I control for market liquidity and uncertainty measures, change in oil price shock and macroeconomic news. The results show that the impact of the European Central Bank’s announcements has been positive during the period under observation. Along the line of the expansionary monetary policy measures implemented, the agents have been revising upwards their long term inflation expectations. This means that the unconventional monetary policy measures were effective. In the second chapter, co-authored with Claudia Pacella, we construct a Bayesian vector autoregressive model with three layers of information: the key drivers of inflation, cross-country dynamic interactions, and country-specific variables. The model provides good forecasting accuracy with respect to the popular benchmarks used in the literature. We perform a step-by-step analysis to shed light on which layer of information is more crucial for accurately forecasting euro area inflation. Our empirical analysis reveals the importance of including the key drivers of inflation and taking into account the multi-country dimension of the euro area. The results show that the complete model performs better overall in forecasting inflation excluding energy and unprocessed food over the medium-term. We use the model to establish stylized facts on the euro area and cross-country heterogeneity over the business cycle. In the third chapter, using confidential firm-level data from the National Bank of Belgium, I document the heterogeneous response of firms’ markups to the 2008 financial crisis. Overall, markups increased in the aftermath of the crisis and the effect was larger for highly financially constrained firms. I show that standard heterogeneous-firm models, featuring monopolistic competition and variable markups, are unable to replicate these patterns. I then introduce endogenous demand shifters which respond to firm investment in market share (e.g. quality). I show that the interaction of an increase in the cost of procuring inputs combined with an endogenous quality downgrading can rationalize the observed changes in firm-level markups.

Keywords: Inflation; Inflation expectations; Non-standard monetary policy measures; Event-study analysis; Forecasting; Multi-country model; Bayesian estimation; Euro area; Markups; Firms heterogeneity; Financial crisis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09-15
Note: Degree: Doctorat en Sciences économiques et de gestion
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Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/312258