The consensus among central bankers is that higher inflation expectations can drive up inflation today, requiring tighter policy. We assess this by devising a novel method for identifying shocks to inflation expectations, estimating a semi-structural VAR where an expectation shock is identified as that which causes measured expectations to diverge from rationality. Using data for the United States, we find that a positive inflation expectations shock is deflationary and contractionary: inflation, output, and interest rates all fall. These results are inconsistent with the standard New Keynesian model, which predicts inflation and interest rate hikes. We discuss possible resolutions to this new puzzle.
Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, Pelin Berkmen, Pavel Lukyantsau, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, and Hanni Schoelermann
Investment across the euro area remains below its pre-crisis level. Its performance has been weaker than in most previous recessions and financial crises. This paper shows that a part of this weakness can be explained by output dynamics, particularly before the European sovereign debt crisis. The rest is explained by a high cost of capital, financial constraints, corporate leverage, and uncertainty. There is a considerable cross country heterogeneity in terms of both investment dymanics and its determinants. Based on the findings of this paper, investment is expected to pick up as the recovery strengthens and uncertainty declines, but persistent financial fragmentation and high corporate leverage in some countries will likely continue to weigh on investment.