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Essays on Business Cycles and Monetary Policy

Marco Luca Pinchetti

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: This thesis explores some different dimensions of business cycle analysis and monetary policy,in closed and open economies. In the first chapter, I develop a model to analyze the roleof research and development in the US business cycle, and its ability to produce macroeconomicfluctuations by generating expectations of future productivity gains. In the secondchapter, I empirically investigate how changes in central bank transparency affects financialmarkets response to central bank announcements in the United Kingdom. Finally, in thethird chapter, I analyze some heterogeneities in the international spillovers of central bankannouncements, focusing on the behavior of exchange rates and international capital flows.The first chapter studies the role of R&D-based innovation within the US business cycle. Thechapter builds on the idea that temporary business cycle frequency contractions can result inprolonged medium-run slowdowns, if an economy’s technological growth is generated by asector of profit-maximizing innovators. In order to analyse the business cycle spillovers oninnovation activity, this chapter analyzes the contribution of R&D-based innovation to USbusiness cycle dynamics combining techniques from the empirical and theoretical literature.First, using a Bayesian VAR identified with a Cholesky recursive formulation, the papershows that innovation shocks are generally inflationary and generate rises in hours worked.Second, the paper introduces a medium-scale New-Keynesian model of creative destructionthat can rationalize these facts. In the model, a sector of profit-maximizing innovators investsin R&D and endogenously generates productivity gains, ultimately determining theeconomy’s growth rate. The estimated responses to innovation shocks are characterized bypowerful wealth effects that offset the contractionary spillovers on the labour market conventionally associated with productivity increases. The estimation results suggest that thebulk of the productivity slowdown is due to a decrease in the innovation’s ability to generateproductivity gains. These findings support the view of the productivity slowdown as astand-alone phenomenon in the US business cycle as opposed to a byproduct of the GreatRecession.In the second chapter (jointly written with Andrzej Szczepaniak), we investigate the impactof monetary policy transparency measures on the relevance of the information effect channelof central bank communication. Our paper focuses on the switch in the Bank of England’scommunication strategy, occurred in August 2015, from a multi-day to a single-day releaseschedule. Before August 2015, the minutes of the monetary policy committee and the inflationreport (i.e. the Bank’s analysis of the economic outlook), were published only someweeks after the monetary policy decision. By contrast, after August 2015, the Bank of Englandstarted releasing all accompanying documents alongside the policy rate announcement,in the attempt to increase the transparency of its policy-making process.To this purpose, we construct a market surprise series for each one of the three communicationdocuments of the Bank of England (the monetary policy decision, the minutes of themonetary policy committee, and the economic outlook report) in order to evaluate the effectof central bank communication on agents’ expectations. The chapter builds on the idea thatmarket responses to central bank releases can be due either to unexpected deviations from thecentral bank’s policy rule (the policy component of the surprise), or to the revision of agents’expectations about future inflation (the informational component of the surprise). These twocomponents can be identified based on the associated reaction of equity prices. In the chapter,the policy component of the policy announcement is identified as an unexpected increasein the policy rate which results in a decline in equity prices, and the informational componentas an unexpected increase in the policy rate which results in a rise in equity prices, inaccordance with the methodology introduced by Jarocinski and Karadi (2020). We provideevidence that the informational component is a key driver of the financial market response tocentral bank communication. Before August 2015, according to our results, the informationeffect accounted for approximately two thirds of the interest rate surprise, the inflation expectations,and the equity price variation on the release days. However, we find that the switchfrom a multi-day release schedule to a single-day communication strategy markedly reducedthe importance of information effects. Our findings suggest that the degree of transparencyof a central bank’s policies significantly affects the quantitative relevance of the informationeffect and the associated asset price response.The third chapter (jointly written with Andrzej Szczepaniak), analyzes some of the internationalspillovers of central bank communication. The chapter highlights that the policy andthe informational component of central bank announcements entail different open economyspillovers. Namely, when unexpected increases in the US policy rate are associated withincreases in equity prices, the US dollar depreciates. We argue that this phenomenon occursbecause central bank information shocks affect investors’ risk perception. In response tofavorable central bank information shocks, we observe downward revisions of the level offinancial risk perceived by investors, which lead capital to flow towards emerging marketsand riskier asset classes. Conversely, in response to adverse central bank information shocks,we observe upward revisions of the level of financial risk perceived by investors, which leadcapital to flow towards the US and safer asset classes, causing an appreciation of the US dollar.In support to this hypothesis, we provide evidence of large spillover effects onto globalsafe-haven currencies, risk premia, cross-border credit, risky assets, and ultimately, on globaleconomic activity.

Keywords: Business Cycle; Monetary Policy; Central Bank Announcements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11-25
Note: Degree: Doctorat en Sciences économiques et de gestion
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Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/314638